Paul Bennett, the 44 year-old driver of the speedboat that initiated the horrific June 18 crash on Lake Lanier, has been formally charged with 13 felonies, according to reports. The crash was reportedly the result of Bennett, allegedly being under the influence of alcohol, driving his speed boat into a pontoon boat filled with people. Two brothers were killed as a result of the crash, 9 year-old Jake Prince and his older brother, 13 year-old Griffin Prince. Bennett was formally charged on August 3rd and released on August 6th after posting $50,000 bond.
Bennett has been charged with 8 counts of first degree “homicide by vessel,” two counts of boating under the influence, two counts of reckless operation of a vessel, and one count of violation of duty to render assistance and identify vessel and self, according to the Johns Creek Patch. If convicted, Bennett may be facing heavy jail time. “Each of the homicide by vessel counts is punishable by three to 15 years, and each of the other counts are misdemeanor counts which means up to 12 months on each of those,” said Hall County District Attorney Lee Darragh in reports. Bennett was initially arrested several hours after the accident for operating a vessel while in intoxicated. Bennett was formally indicted on felony charges after the results of a several week long criminal investigation by the State Department of National Resources were released on August 3. Bennett is set to be arraigned on October 1.
Unfortunately, boating accidents happen more frequently than most people realize. Just several weeks after the Bennett accident, on July 8, Usher’s stepson, Kile Glover, was killed in a Jet Ski accident on Lake Lanier. In 2011 alone, the United States Coast Guard reported 758 deaths and 3,081 injuries as a result of boating accidents. All too often these accidents are the result one or more parties boating while intoxicated (BUI), which remains a serious problem on Lake Lanier and bodies of water throughout the United States.
Have you or someone you love been injured in a boating accident? If so you may be able to file a lawsuit against those deemed liable for the accident. At Morgan & Morgan we will work tirelessly to help you secure the compensation you may be entitled to. Simply fill out the free, no-obligation form for a free consultation with one of our attorneys.