Lake Tobosofkee near Macon, Georgia, was the site of a deadly boating accident in July of 2021.
A pontoon boat containing 7 passengers, all employees of the nearby Fish N Pig restaurant, was anchored on the lake when a cigarette boat crashed into it around 1:40 in the morning.
The crash left the 7 passengers with blunt force injuries, and all had to be transported to Atrium Health Navicent Medical Center for treatment. Tragically, one of the victims suffered head trauma so severe that they did not survive. Another female victim suffered a skull fracture and was in critical condition for some time after the incident. The deceased individual was later identified as 22-year-old William Childs, an assistant manager at the Fish N Pig.
Following the fatal boating crash, the restaurant temporarily closed its doors to allow surviving employees to rest and recover. As of the latest update, the restaurant was to re-open on August 3rd.
The cigarette boat was reported to have two passengers on board when the crash occurred. Both are alleged to have fled the scene, though they were later found by authorities in a nearby house. No arrests have been made nor charges levied as the investigation is ongoing.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is in charge of investigating this deadly boat wreck.
Kevin Hurley, a DNR game warden for Lake Tobo, commented on how the time of day likely played a part in the accident, "Circumstances at night make things a little difficult... There's no need for any speed... [it's] not something that is needed out there at night."
Additional facts regarding the accident have yet to be released. For instance, it is not clear at this time whether alcohol or another form of intoxication was a factor in this crash. However, the DNR did take the opportunity to publicly remind locals that Lake Tobesofkee is a "dry lake."
The ongoing investigation by DNR officials is expected to take between 2 and 3 months to be completed, at which point it is expected for criminal charges to be filed or for the case to be closed.
The days and weeks following a boat accident can be extremely overwhelming for victims and their loved ones. Unfortunately, it is unlikely for those involved to get any conclusive answers with regards to the cause of injuries, seeing as how official investigations can take a long time.
On the other hand, the victims who required medical treatment for their injuries are unable to put their newly-encountered medical bills on hold. Nor can they simply shake off the physical pain and emotional trauma they are feeling.
It's important for boat accident victims to understand that criminal charges do not have to be filed in order for a boating accident lawsuit to be successful; indeed, the civil and criminal justice systems are mostly independent of each other. This means that victims of boat crash injuries do not have to wait to consult with an experienced attorney regarding their potential compensation.
A boat crash lawsuit can award victims with compensation that covers not only all medical expenses related to the crash but also other damages such as lost wages and pain & suffering. All cases are different from one another, so it's always advised to discuss your case with a lawyer before moving forward with any legal action.