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People living along Lake Shafer react to boat crash

Indiana Conservation officers are in the process of investigating the boat involved in a weekend crash.

Posted: Jul 16, 2018 6:41 PM
Updated: Jul 16, 2018 6:41 PM

WHITE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Indiana Conservation officers are in the process of investigating the boat involved in a weekend crash.

The crash was on the north-end of Lake Shafer, near the West Shafer Drive and County Road 800 North intersection.  Investigators said they should be ready for a full reconstruction of the boat by Wednesday of this week.

Indiana State Police and the Department of Natural Resources are both involved in the investigation. At this point, the DNR has the boat and is just starting to examine the motor.

A speedboat carrying seven people hit a large tree limb while traveling on the lake. Three people are in the hospital and at last check, their conditions still remain critical.

Sergeant Blaine Gillan said fortunately, the department doesn't get a lot of these cases.

"These investigations are quite complex, there's a lot of moving parts it's a lot different than investigating a vehicle crash where you have a lot of marks on the roadways and tire tracks," said Sgt. Gillan.

The DNR said it has reason to believe alcohol was involved in the incident, but again it is still under investigation. 

Neighbors said they believe every situation could have been avoided if more people understood and followed the laws of the lake.

Carl and Jackie Lucas love taking their pontoon out on Lake Shafer.

"We live here year round, I'm retired," said Carl. 

Because they live on the lake year round, they know the rules of the water. The couple hasn't used their boat this summer as often as previous summers.

"Now on holiday weekends, we don't take our boat out at all," said Carl. 

After an incident this weekend, his wife Jackie guesses they'll be out even less.

"It sounded like if you were to take a baseball bat and hit the windshield, like slam. It was just very scary," said Jackie. 

Darin Griesey lives down the road and having grown up on the lake, he thinks the crash sheds light on a bigger issue.

"I think it's an intricate part, just understanding the laws of lake or laws of the water, it's something that every child an adult should learn," said Griesey. 

His perspective, is one his neighbors said they've been thinking for years.

"A guy 25 or 30 years old goes out and buys a boat, gets a license and that's it, he doesn't have to go to school," said Griesey. 

They hope this crash will serve as a wake-up call.

"Education is the key, otherwise we are always destined to repeat the follies of our past," said Griesey. 

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