A suspect has been charged in a boating accident over the holiday weekend that sent one person to the hospital by helicopter.
Sgt. Robert Newsome, of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC), charged a person identified in court documents as Wayne Everette Carter, 60, of Meadow View Drive, Marion, with misdemeanor failure to render aid after being involved in an accident with another vessel and misdemeanor operating a boat in a reckless manner.
According to Sgt. Randy Merrit, also of the NCWRC, at 10:44 p.m. on Friday, July 4, a call came in about a boating accident that occurred near the Marion Lake Club and Lake James State Park. McDowell EMS, Burke County EMS, McDowell County Sheriff’s Office, and the NCWRC responded to the area and found a 17-foot Pro Craft bass boat damaged by another boat that had left the scene.
A female passenger on the bass boat, Donna Patrick Kellem, had injuries to her femur and internal bleeding. Kellem was airlifted to Memorial Mission in Asheville. The hospital said Tuesday she was no longer a patient.
Merrit said witnesses told officers that the bass boat was heading toward Canal Bridge Access area when a ski boat with multiple passengers hit the front left of the bass boat and launched in the air diagonally across the boat, causing damage from the bow to the motor.
Shortly after 1 a.m., wildlife officers spotted a 2001 Bayliner near the Moose Lodge with damages consistent with the incident. The operator of the Bayliner, who the officer declined to name because he said the investigation is ongoing, was arrested for operating while impaired, according to Merrit. He said it was later determined the subject had switched places with Carter, who was driving the boat at the time of the accident.
“The operator was served arrest warrants on Sunday and charges are pending,” Merrit told The McDowell News.
Carter was released from custody on a written promise to appear in court. His first court date is set for Aug. 20.