Boating is serious business, and when you are negligent on the water, the results can be devastating to everyone involved.
That’s what Paul Bennett of Cumming is realizing after being charged with 13 counts, including homicide by vessel in the first degree, as a result of a deadly boating accident on Lake Lanier that left two young brothers dead.
Bennett was charged on July 18th with boating while intoxicated after he plowed the speedboat he was driving into a pontoon boat carrying 13 people. The impact knocked two young brothers (ages 9 and 13) into the lake. Both were killed on impact. While the younger boy was pulled out of the lake at the scene, it took several days to find the older boy. At the time of the accident, witnesses say Bennett remained at the scene, but he later left and was arrested at a nearby marina.
While boating while intoxicated is considered a misdemeanor in Georgia, with a maximum fine of $1000 and up to 12 months in jail, homicide charges like those against Bennett could net him anywhere from three to 15 years in prison.
Boating accidents are not uncommon on Georgia lakes and waterways. Drinking and boating does not carry the stigma that drinking and driving does, and yet the results can be equally severe.
When you are boating, it is best to avoid drinking alcohol. Not only is it dangerous to operate a boat while impaired, but it lessens your ability to watch for dangerous behavior around you. Drinking and boating don’t mix.
If you or someone you love is injured in a boating accident, contact Van Sant Law, LLC. We work with victims to make sure they get the justice they deserve.