Boat runs wild after 10 injured in crash

Pierre Vaugeois
Juillet 17, 2017

Conservation officers reported Steuben County 911 emergency dispatch received a call at 7:13 p.m. Saturday saying several people had been involved in a boating accident at Lake Gage and still were in the water with serious injuries. Among the 10 people injured in the incident, four were severely wounded.

According to DNR Spokesman James Price, while the boat was seen circling at a high speed as it neared the shore, Conservation Officer Jake Carlile immediately threw a rope around the boat's propeller in order to slow down the out-of-control vehicle.

Local residents used their boats to carry several seriously injured people to the shore in order for EMS and fire units to tend to their injuries. One person was believed to have a skull fracture and another a partial amputation of their lower arm. It said the boat then struck a dock and changed direction, striking the back of the patrol boat and disabling the patrol boat's motor. Other injured people were taken to Cameron Memorial Hospital in Angola for treatment of less serious injuries.

An Indiana conservation officer was eventually able to jump on to the boat and stop it. Carlile was able to use a nearby personal watercraft and jump onto the runaway boat while both boats were still in motion.

An investigation later revealed 20-year-old Dominique Effinger, the operator of the boat, was speeding and cut into a sharp turn, causing the boat's passengers to be ejected from the boat.

Conservation officers are continuing to investigate the accident, their report said. The boat continued at a high rate of speed, unmanned around Lake Gage causing further serious bodily injury and property damage. The boat reportedly then continued circling in the lake at about 30 miles per hour without anyone aboard.

Authorities say alcohol was a factor.

A runaway boat caused property damage and injured 10 people on Lake Gage in IN on July 15.

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