A Maryland lawmaker who told police he was drinking alcohol while operating a powerboat that collided with a boat full of children, injuring four of them, did not have a recommended boating safety certificate.
Delegate Donald H. Dwyer Jr., an Anne Arundel County Republican and an outspoken member of the state House Judiciary Committee, was not required to have completed a state safety course because Maryland boaters born before 1972 are exempt, according to the Maryland Deptartment of Natural Resources.
On Friday, doctors were still monitoring the youngest of four children hospitalized after the Wednesday evening crash — a 5-year-old girl who authorities said suffered a fractured skull, according to the Washington Post story. She was reportedly thrown from the boat that collided with Dwyer’s 27-foot Baja in the Magothy River about 5 miles north of Route 50 in Anne Arundel County, according to a report by the Washington Post.
Three other children, all younger than 13, were treated and released for injuries that included cuts, bruises and a broken arm, according to the report. A family member said Dwyer could need surgery but declined to elaborate.
Authorities on Friday identified a second adult who was on Dwyer’s Baja, which the three-term delegate dubbed The Legislator, the report states. The passenger was John E. Moran IV, a former police officer who narrowly lost an election for Anne Arundel County sheriff in 2006.
The accident occurred during a season that also included the capsize and sinking of a 34-foot Silverton on the Fourth of July on New York’s Oyster Bay in which three children were killed.
Dwyer appeared before reporters Thursday in a wheelchair and wearing a neck brace and said his blood-alcohol level had been 0.2, more than twice the legal limit for operating a boat, according to the Washington Post.
On Friday, Dwyer’s Republican colleagues in the House of Delegates issued a statement distancing themselves from his actions.
If Dwyer is found at fault, he could at most be charged with misdemeanors: negligence and operating a boat under the influence. Combined, the two charges carry maximum penalties of $1,500 and 13 months in prison. Under Maryland law, only boating accidents that result in deaths can be prosecuted as felonies.