Boat operator Tim Wilson who slammed into Key Bridge indicted for negligent homicide in death of two passengers on booze cruise
Drunk boater nabbed in Western Maryland to kick off the boozing while boating season; Baltimore man faces trial for killing two passengers when he smashed into Key Bridge after night of bar-hopping
TOWSON, MD. – As boaters de-winterize their vessels, pull out the paint cans, take their ethanol clogged carburetors out to be cleaned, empty their old gas fouled with politically-mandated ethanol and prepare their wallets for another season of boating, the fact that twenty-two boaters lost their lives in Maryland waters might be a sobering thought.
NRP spokesperson Candy Thomson said that the number of deaths only accounted for boaters. There were more.
“We only report in that number those killed in boating incidents, not those who died in the water not on boats and handled by other agencies,” said Thomson.
Drownings in reservoirs, creeks, rivers and the Bay account for more, such as the deaths of two men who drowned last summer in Calvert County at a beach at Cove Point. Alcohol continues to play a role in many water-related fatalities.
The men who drowned at Cove Point had alcohol in their systems, according to the Maryland State Medical Examiner’s Office. The level was consistent with a couple of drinks but not enough to exceed the level of intoxication for impaired driving, had they been on a boat or in a vehicle.
Still impairment to any degree affects judgment, which is the leader in the body’s defense system for survival, even in swimming.
For boaters such as one booze-cruiser arrested for drunk boating, there really isn’t too much officials can do other than putting them into the system, unless of course the boater makes a fatal connection with an undertaker.
Fishing for a court date with snoot full
Maryland Natural Resources Police reports that a Washington County man was arrested Sunday, March 13, 2016, and charged with impaired boating on Blair’s Valley Lake.
Jason Michael Nee, 35, of Williamsport, received three citations for operating his fishing boat while under the influence and a single citation for failing to have required safety equipment aboard his vessel.
Acting on a citizen’s call, officers and a Maryland State trooper launched a patrol boat and intercepted Nee’s boat. Officers noticed that Nee’s eyes were glassy, his speech was slurred and he smelled of alcohol.
Nee told officers that he had stopped drinking about seven hours earlier and had taken a prescription medication about three hours earlier.
The vessel was towed to shore and Nee was given standard field sobriety tests. He refused a breathalyzer test.
Nee was released to the custody of a friend to be driven home. A court date has not been set. If found guilty of all charges, Nee could be jailed for up to 16 months and be fined as much as $2,500.
The operator of a recreational boat that slammed into a protective pillar of the Key Bridge in July of 2015, killing two women, has been indicted by a Baltimore County grand jury and will appear for criminal trial in Baltimore County Circuit Court on Sept. 13, 2016.
Crash into Key Bridge Abutment
The case of the fatal booze cruise last summer combined impairment on the part of the boat operator along with the pitch dark blackness of night.
NRP spokesperson Thomson said that while the large concrete barrier that protects Key Bridge from ships and barges is not lit at night, it is the responsibility of vessel operators to know where they are boating and where they are headed. Basically, the vessel operator should go slow and be sober.
The 16-count indictment unsealed in December, charges Timothy Jay Wilson, 56, of 6800 Fort Smallwood Road, Baltimore, Md., with “grossly negligent” actions that led to the deaths of passengers Windy Lawson and Kimberly Ervin during the early-morning hours of July 26, 2015. The crash injured six others. A GoFundMe has been set up for Lawson.
The four-month investigation was conducted by the Maryland Natural Resources Police, the state’s lead maritime law enforcement agency.
The passengers first met Wilson that evening at a Dundalk restaurant and accepted his invitation to take a boat ride to Fells Point for drinks. The accident occurred on the return trip. The boat, a 37-foot Sea Ray Sundancer, slammed into one of the four concrete structures that mark the main shipping channel and protect the Key Bridge. Lawson, 40, and Ervin, 45, both of Baltimore, were ejected into the water from their seats near the bow. They were not wearing life jackets.
The vessel ricocheted off the structure, passed under the bridge and stopped when it struck the wall surrounding Fort Carroll. The victims, some clinging to the vessel, called 911 and were rescued by first responders. The two bodies were recovered later that day.
The indictment charges Wilson with two felony counts each of manslaughter by vessel; homicide by vessel while under the influence of alcohol; homicide by vessel while impaired by alcohol; homicide by vessel while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance; and homicide by vessel while impaired by drugs. Wilson also was indicted on a single misdemeanor count each of life-threatening injury while under the influence of alcohol; life-threatening injury while impaired by alcohol; life-threatening injury while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance; and life-threatening injury while impaired by drugs. The final two counts involve operating a vessel while impaired in violation of Maryland boating regulations and laws.
Wilson was released on a $25,000 bond.
A family member posted this comment, referring to the low bond, on the announcement of the indictment on an NRP blog: “I guess my sister’s life wasn’t worth much. This guy still has his business and life. My mother and father lost a daughter, I lost my baby sister, my niece lost her mom. I hope no one ever uses his company again (Jet blast in Curtis Bay) Tim I can’t wait to you meet your cell mate. I wouldn’t have thought a dope addict and alcoholic could still run a business and ruin so many lives all at the same time.”
Wilson is listed as the owner of Jet Blast, an industrial water jet cleaning, tank, pipe, and sewer cleaning. The website for Jet Blast promotes the firm’s safety program, specifically noting its substance abuse policy for new hires, random substance abuse testing, and post-accident testing.
The address for Wilson on the 16-count indictment charging him with negligent homicide has the business address of Jet Blast Industrial Services Inc.
The allegation that Wilson is a “dope addict and alcoholic” on the Maryland NRP website is not supported by any charges or convictions listed on the Maryland Court online records, prior to the indictment issued in December of 2016.