Boat Wreck Victims ID’d

Morgantown Dominion Post
5 June 2015
By Alex Lang

State officials, on Thursday, released the names of the 12 people involved in the Memorial Day boat wreck on Cheat Lake.

The 12 are Jacob Alexander, Reid Bailey, Rachel Coyle, Carley Dellasala, Michael Gaud, Morgan Gerdon, Tyler Geyer, Bret Grady, Maci Robles, Brandon Solomon, Hannah Spangler and Carly Weinstein.

They were on the boat when it wrecked the night of May 25, according to Chelsea Ruby, director of Marketing and Communication for the state’s Department of Commerce.

All but Dellasala are listed as WVU students on the school’s online directory. All those involved were ages 18 to early 20s.

The Monongalia County prosecuting attorney and the state’s Division of Natural Resources are handling the investigation. The DNR falls under the umbrella of the Department of Commerce.

The names were released mid-afternoon Thursday, after more than a week of keeping the names private. According to Ruby, the DNR conducted interviews with all 12 people.

The dozen young adults were injured after the the boat they were riding in a 23-foot Malibu Wakesetter — a ski boat — hit an embankment in Cheat Lake about 9 p.m. All suffered various injuries and five were taken by ambulance or medical helicopter to area hospitals.

On Thursday, only Alexander was still at Ruby Memorial Hospital. He was listed in fair condition. None of the others were listed in the patient directory, spokeswoman Amy Johns said.

According to Mon County Prosecutor Marcia Ashdown, the investigation is ongoing. She said prosecutors plan to meet with DNR investigators today.

Ruby declined to provide further information on the investigation, including who was driving the boat, if the driver was licensed, if there was evidence of controlled substances being used on the boat, if there were sufficient lifejackets on the boat, how fast the boat was traveling when it struck the embankment, if there were lights aboard the vessel and if there are any pending citations.

“The investigation is ongoing, and no other details will be provided at this time,” Ruby wrote in an email to The Dominion Post.

Ruby also declined to answer if the investigation is complete, if the information provided in the victims’ statements match, how much damage was done to the boat, where the boat is currently housed, if the victims were tossed from the vessel, the current location of the victims and if blood alcohol content levels were checked on any or all of the victims.

She said that they are still in the middle of the investigation.

When asked about hometowns and ages for the victims, Ruby said she did not have the information and didn’t believe the DNR was in position to release that information.

The boat has a seating capacity of 15 people, according to manufacturer specifications. According to an online review of the 23-foot Malibu Wakesetter, the boat has a maximum speed of 71.8 knots per hour, roughly the equivalent of 45 miles per hour.