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Lake Victoria boat accident the result of alcohol impairment: Douglas County Attorney urges Alexandria area residents to learn from tragedy

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region Park Rapids, 56470
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

Douglas County Attorney Chad Larson released the following on Friday, July 8.

At approximately 6:20 p.m. on May 21, 2011, our community suffered a tragic loss of life on Lake Victoria. Nicole Getz and Matthew Spletzer were killed and their friends were injured when their boat collided with docks, boat lifts, and ultimately the shore.

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I have reviewed every aspect of the detailed investigation submitted by the Douglas County Sheriff's Office. This included all witness reports, investigator reports, photographs, available audio and video recordings, and toxicology results.

It is clear to me, after reviewing these materials, that this tragedy was the result of alcohol impairment. This was not merely a case of operator error; this was not merely a case of an inexperienced boater.

Our community deserves to know these facts so that we are not doomed to repeat such a tragedy for lack of awareness.

This event has no doubt devastated many. The families of those deceased and injured will never be the same. And the survivors who were on the boat can only speak for themselves.

The witnesses on the lake that day, the responding officers, and the treating medical staff will never forget what they saw.

In the wake of a tragedy that has taken two lives, an expectation of accountability follows from our community.

And while accountability can take many forms, in this case it cannot come from the criminal justice system: the driver of this boat was killed.

Additionally, there is insufficient evidence to charge any of the passengers with a crime related to this crash.

Therefore, there will not be criminal charges filed in connection with these events.

I pray that we can learn from this tragedy. And I pray that our continuing efforts to try to educate the community about impaired driving will be taken to heart, not just by parents of teens, but by all friends who care about each other.

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