Florence Man Indicted After Fatal Jet Ski Accident on Lake Marion
In May of 2014, a 19-year-old girl from Clarendon County was killed in a jet ski accident on Lake Marion after colliding with a 26-year-old man. Around 7 p.m. on May 19th, the Florence man crashed his watercraft into the young girl’s jet ski. As a result, she was airlifted to a Columbia hospital and never regained consciousness. The Captain of the SC Department of Natural Resources (DNR) stated that he was unable to estimate the speed at which the two were traveling, because speed is “extremely hard to pinpoint or determine with watercraft.”
Although he passed a field sobriety test the day of the accident, the young man was taken into custody on one count of reckless homicide by operation of a boat in September of 2014 following the completion of a four-month investigation. Since that time, jury selection has taken place in preparation of trial. If the Florence man is convicted, he will face up to 10 years in prison.
In addition to the indictment, the accident has also served as inspiration for Milli’s Law. The victim’s mother has helped lead the effort which aims to require the DNR to “administer a breath test to any party operating a watercraft during a major collision involving death, or grave bodily injury.” She believes the law would encourage boaters to designate a sober driver while operating a watercraft on South Carolina’s waterways, avoiding accidents such as the one in which her daughter was killed.
As this tragedy demonstrates, boating accidents can be fatal, even more dangerous than an accident involving a motor vehicle. Unlike an automobile which contains seat belts and offers a layer of protection, boats and jet skis are exposed, and offer no protection. Now that summer is officially only 19 days away and our waterways continue to become more crowded, it is especially important to take special precautions to avoid an accident. On our Boating Accident Lawyers page, you can find several helpful tips for both avoiding accidents and taking proper steps following a boating collision. At the Strom Law Firm, our attorneys have years of experience protecting people’s rights while they pursue full recovery after a boating accident. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a boating accident, give us a call at (803) 252-4800 to schedule a free consultation.