In 2011, the Missouri State Water Patrol was merged with the Missouri State Highway Patrol which has resulted in a large decline in boaters being arrested for boating while intoxicated. In 2010, 352 boaters were arrested in Missouri for boating while intoxicated, and just four years later, authorities only arrested 131 boaters for BWI. While the decline in arrests coincides with the number of boating accidents caused by intoxicated boaters, several officials are blaming the Patrol for not being more aggressive on Missouri’s waterways. The merge of the two Patrol divisions occurred to cut the state’s costs, and it was estimated to have saved $3 million. Opponents of the merge claim that the money saved was nowhere close to the original estimate. They also believe that the decline in arrests for BWI is due to a lack of officers present on the waterways.
Last May, the merge was the center of scrutiny after the Patrol was arresting a man on the Lake of the Ozarks and he was killed. Officers handcuffed the 20-year-old man and he fell into the water. His lifejacket was not properly secured, and he drowned. The trooper involved in the incident admitted that he had not been properly trained for conducting arrests on the water.
Boating accidents that are caused by boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol often claim the lives of innocent victims. Those individuals should be held responsible for their negligent actions by criminal punishment and by being held financially accountable. Individuals injured or killed in boating accidents may have grounds to recover compensation for their damages.
The St. Louis boating accident attorneys at Meyerkord, Meyerkord & Kurth have over 100 years of legal experience. Our attorneys have recovered over $350 million in compensation for our client’s damages, and we will fight to recover the maximum compensation for your case. Contact our office today for a free consultation.