Sentencing in Gwinnett Brothers’ Lake Lanier Tragedy

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 512957_better_for_ducks.jpgDuring the summer of 2012, tragic events took place on Lake Lanier. The step-son of rapper Usher died after sustaining injuries by a jet ski that ran over him while he was inner tubing. Another tragedy that took place on Lake Lanier during the summer of 2012, ended in the deaths of two Gwinnett County brothers. The boys were on a pontoon boat with other family members when another boater struck the pontoon and the boys ended up being killed.

In the latter case, the boater who is now stripped of the right to boat in Georgia, was eventually charged with homicide by vessel. His trial and verdict ended in an acquittal on that charge. He was instead found guilty on lesser charges. The charges on which the jury found him guilty include the following: boating under the influence, reckless operation of a vessel and a failure to render aid after hitting the pontoon, which is akin to a hit and run. The penalty for the guilty verdict on these charges is now set and the former boater will now serve 30 months in prison. As noted, he is precluded from ever boating again in Georgia and will perform community service as part of his sentence.

The boating summer of 2012 that began with three fatal accidents involving children on Lake Lanier and 12 total fatalities within Georgia, has resulted in some good. After his death, two laws were enacted with the push from grieving moms of Kile Glover and Jake and Griffin Prince. Both the Prince brothers’ mom and Kile’s mom, who was previously married to Usher, began efforts to reform the boating laws in Georgia. Their efforts resulted in the passage of the Jake and Griffin Prince BUI Law and the Kile Glover Boat Education Law enacted by the Georgia legislature and signed by Governor Deal earlier this year.

The new boating laws do several significant things, including lowering the blood alcohol level to .08 — which is the same for operation of a motor vehicle — from the higher and more lenient .10 level. Other provisions require kids under the age of 13 to wear life jackets whenever they are on a boat that is in motion, whether by motor or by wind or wave. When the boat isn’t anchored, life jackets for kids under 13 are now mandatory. Prior to the new more stringent laws, kids under 10 were required to wear a life jacket.

When boating injuries occur, help is available for you and your family. The Law Offices of P. Charles Scholle, P.C., has represented those injured in all types of accidents for two decades. We can evaluate your situation and we are here to answer your questions at no charge to you. Contact Charles Scholle personally for a conversation about your injury or accident as soon as possible, to preserve evidence and ensure the best recovery possible.

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