Two Injured, One Arrested in Ginger Cove Lake Crash
Sheriff's Office Warns Boat Operators Against Drinking Behind Wheel
Valley, NE - A boater from South Dakota is under arrest on suspicion of boating under the influence after a crash that sent two people to the hospital.
It happened shortly after midnight at Ginger Cove Lake. Sheriff's deputies tell KMTV Action 3 News 31-year-old Thomas Hurtgen rammed into a fishing boat operated by 59-year-old Robert Hawkins. He was taken to the hospital with serious injuries along with his female passenger, 49-year-old Sandra Peterson. We're told Hurtgen's blood-alcohol level was through the roof.
"It was more than twice the legal limit," said Sergeant Rob Jones.
"The speed limit on the water is five miles an hour after sunset, but he [Hurtgen] was probably going 25 to 30 miles an hour," said John Radio who heard the crash.
Deputies also tested Hawkins to see if he had been drinking, but those tests aren't back yet. The crash is a reminder that drinking behind the wheel is never worth the risk.
"We just want to remind the public that the same laws apply to those operating watercraft as they do with driving on public roadways. There are laws for operating under the influence and the penalties are equally the same," said Jones.
Under Nebraska law, if you're convicted of boating under the influence, you could face a penalty of a $1,000 fine. Worse, you could get up to six months in jail and lose your boating privileges.