Prosecutors in Loup City, Nebraska have decided they have enough evidence to try Brian Packer for manslaughter in the wrongful death of two North Carolina stepbrothers.
Back in early July, 12 year old Joshua Rowley, and his 19 year old stepbrother, Matthew McAlexander, both of Kernersville, NC, were attending a family reunion in Kearney, Nebraska. Part of the festivities included tubing at Sherman Reservoir. The holiday weekend came to a tragic end when the boys were struck by a pontoon boat while being pulled on a tube behind a ski boat. Joshua was pronounced dead at the scene, and stepbrother Matthew died a short while later.
Dale Davis, a conservation officer with Nebraska Game and Parks Commission reported that his investigation found that Packer was operating his pontoon boat in a north-northwesterly direction in Sherman Reservoir, while the ski boat hauling the stepbrothers was traveling in an easterly direction. Officer Davis stated that based on boating rules requiring boaters to give each other the right of way, Packer was the one with the right of way. A passenger on Packer’s boat stated that he did see the ski boat, but did not see the tube it was pulling, and that by the time the tube was visible, it was too late to avoid the collision, though Packer did try to take evasive action.
Investigating officers reported that Packer consumed approximately 8 beers, and that his blood-alcohol level was higher than the legal limit when he crashed his pontoon boat into the brothers. A blood alcohol test taken at an area hospital found Packer to have a blood alcohol level of .089.
It is no longer illegal in Nebraska to consume alcohol in a state park. Prior to 2011, when alcohol was banned in Nebraska state parks, officials say that people still frequently boated while drunk, and that 2 of the 6 reported fatal boating accidents between 2009 and 2010 were alcohol related. This year, with alcohol consumption being legal in state parks, officials report that of the 2 fatal boating accidents that occurred before this one, one of them involved alcohol.
Nebraska does have a new law with increased penalties for boating while intoxicated, but although passed, have not gone into effect yet.
When Packer is tried for felony manslaughter, the prosecution will be required to prove Packer’s guilt based “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If prosecutors are unable to meet this burden and obtain a conviction, the families of the stepbrothers may still maintain a civil suit based in negligence, and may be entitled to recover monetary damages.
For more information on injuries suffered at the hands of a negligent boater, contact an experienced injury attorney.
A tragic North Carolina Motorcycle accident has claimed the lives of a Burke County father and son. Steven Moody and his 19 year old son Kevin were killed when Amie Jo Skeen crossed the center line on Airport Rhodiss Road, hitting the motorcyclists head-on.
Skeen has been charged with Driving While Impaired and Felony Hit and Run. Investigating officers say that Skeen hit the side of one motorcycle and continued driving, and just seconds later, crashed head on into Moody’s motorcycle, killing Moody and his son. The driver and passenger of the first motorcycle she hit were not seriously injured.
Investigation by North Carolina Highway Patrol found that after crashing head on into the Moody’s, Skeen continued driving for another half mile before driving into a wooded location, presumably to hide the car. A witness foiled Skeen’s attempt to evade police when he followed her, saw her park her car behind a building and then run into the woods. The witness alerted police to Skeen’s location.
Upon her arrest, Skeen denied that she was driving and told a WSOC-TV reporter “I couldn’t have been driving. I was too high.” According to court documents, Skeen also claimed that “crackhead zombies” were driving her car.
Troopers later returned to the scene to reconstruct the fatal motorcycle crash and look for more evidence. The district attorney is considering charges of second degree murder or felony death by motor vehicle, depending which is deemed more appropriate.
Skeen has a long history with the criminal courts, including multiple charges for Driving with License Revoked, No Operators License, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Other charges include Felony Cocaine Possession, Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon, Shoplifting, Crimes Against Nature, and a prior Hit and Run.
Surviving spouse and mother, Audrey Moody, must be a truly remarkable woman. Mrs. Moody told reporters that she can forgive Skeen for taking her husband and son.
An experienced North Carolina motorcycle accident attorney can answer any questions you may have if you or a loved one is involved in a motorcycle accident.
Update-On November 2, 2011, Amie Jo Skeen’s charges were upgraded and she has been charged with two counts of Second Degree Murder. Skeen remains jailed in Burke County Jail.