Boat wreck ends fatally - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Boat wreck ends fatally

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August 22, 2003

Warwick-- A deadly boat crash on Lake Blackshear could result in charges against the 20-year-old driver after a late night cruise on Lake Blackshear ended in tragedy for two north Georgia families.

20-year-old Robert Cannon of Roswell crashed his family's ski boat into the old train trestle east of Smoak Bridge, around 1:30 Friday morning. His friend, 21-year-old Thomas O'Rourke of Alpharetta, was killed. Cannon is charged with Boating Under the Influence.

The bow of the Cannon family's ski boat is shredded from the impact. The glass shield shattered, blood is everywhere. "This is my third year and we have not had any fatal boating accidents since I have been supervisor of this Lake due to alcohol," said D.N.R. Sgt. Wade Law.

And alcohol apparently was a factor in this crash. "We did find alcoholic beverage containers on the vessel, but we are still doing an investigation to find out if those were involved or not."

After the impact, Robert Cannon guided his heavily damaged boat with his bleeding friend aboard to his family's home, just a few hundred yards away.

"According to their statements they went back to their residence to call 911 to get help for the man that was injured." An ambulance quickly responded to the Cannon's home, and 21-year-old Thomas O'Rourke was pronounced dead from severe head injuries at Crisp County Hospital.

Now, his friend, Robert Cannon is charged with BUI, and could face more charges once the investigation is complete.

Georgia does not have an open container law on the waterways. However, Boating Under the Influence charges can be brought if a person's driving ability is impaired, or that person is underage. 

posted at 10:40AM by dave.miller@walb.com