Boating death verdict, BUI verses DUI -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Boating death verdict, BUI verses DUI


A jury convicted Paul Bennett of boating under the influence (BUI) in a crash that killed two brothers but didn't find him guilty of homicide.

CBS Atlanta News wanted to find out if the verdict would have been different if Bennett had been operating a car.

On the surface the BUI and DUI laws are different, but in the end, they both are decided by which operator had that right of way.

Bennett's attorney Barry Zimmerman said it loud and clear Thursday night, when it comes to homicide, the law was on his client's side.

"I think it's clear. The boating laws are clear and Mr. Bennett was not at fault for the accident. And that's what we got across to the jury. And that's what they determined," said Zimmerman.

The jury voted not to convict Bennett of homicide by vessel in the boating crash that killed Jake and Griffin Prince in June of 2012.

According to Georgia law, a boater who has someone on their right must yield and give way to that person to avoid a crash.

Zimmerman said the DNR's report showed his client had the right of way.

If we take that same approach with a car, say a drunken driver is sitting at a red light and is T-boned by a truck and the trucker dies, the trucker caused the crash and is at fault.

The driver of the car, although drunk, would likely only be convicted of driving under the influence and not vehicular homicide.

Along with boating drunk, Bennett was convicted of reckless driving of a vessel, and failure to render aid.

Bennett is in prison tonight, serving out his 2 1/2-year sentence.

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