Walter Pierce

DWF: Lafayette boater over limit in fatal collision

by Walter Pierce

The state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries confirmed Thursday that a Lafayette man piloting one of two boats involved in a collision on False River last month that claimed the lives of three Baton Rouge men was intoxicated, according to a report in The Advocate.

A DWF spokesman says 53-year-old Jerry Jordan had a blood alcohol level of .10. The legal limit for boaters on Louisiana waterways is the same as for motorists: .08.

The May 16 collision between the two 18-foot ski boats killed Sterling Forbes, Christopher W. Austin and Brian Doherty, and injured a fourth man. All of the victims were in their twenties. There were three passengers in Jordan’s vessel. The DWF is still reconstructing the accident and has yet to determine fault, but Ricky Ward, the 18th Judicial District Attorney, tells The Advocate Jordan will likely be prosecuted on a DUI charge and, if found to be at fault, could face vehicular homicide charges as well.

The mishap was one of two boating accidents in May that claimed eight lives, adding impetus to a bill by state Rep. Nickie Monica of Laplace that would tighten boating regulations, including requiring all persons in a boat to wear a life preserver. Current law requires only passengers age 12 or younger to wear a life vest.