A woman from Detroit Lakes lost her life and two young men from Devils Lake were severely injured in a boat crash on Devils Lake that law enforcement officers have related to drinking by the boat’s driver. A man from Grand Forks was arrested last week and charged with felony manslaughter, three counts of reckless endangerment and boating under the influence of alcohol. According to the criminal complaint in Ramsey County District Court of North Dakota, Burns allegedly had a blood alcohol content of .178 approximately three hours after the crash. The aluminum boat he was operating crashed into a tree near shore at a high rate of speed, deputies reported.
Prosecutors in the state’s attorney’s office say that if convicted on all counts, The man arrested could face a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison. A wrongful death lawsuit and multiple boat injury lawsuits also could be filed, but none of the sanctions will undo the human losses. Still, all the consequences in this case will hold the drunk driver accountable and hopefully act as a deterrent against future negligence by boaters.
The woman who died is being remembered by her family and friends as a “vibrant and bubbly personality with a smile that would always brighten your day.” She was a professional degree-holder in Early Childhood Education and was adored by the children at Early Explorers, where she worked. Her passions included family, friends and volleyball and she enjoyed waitressing, which she did on the side at Roadhouse Bar and Grill, according to her obituary.
Irresponsible drinking by boat drivers can be devastating to passengers who put their trust in the driver for safe travel.