Boaters planning to meet on Marley Creek in Maryland collide; survivor convicted in friend's death
Jon Randall Martins, 42, of Glen Burnie, Md., was sentenced in late May to 90 days at the Anne Arundel County Detention Center and almost five years of supervised probation for negligent homicide of a person by powerboat under the influence of alcohol.
He entered a guilty plea May 20 in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court and was sentenced six days later.
Martins was out cruising shortly before 6 p.m. Aug. 30, 2009 in Marley Creek in Anne Arundel County with his 13-year-old daughter in a 2003 18-foot Larson with Mercruiser 180-hp inboard engine, according to Sgt. Art Windemuth of the Maryland Natural Resources Police. Conditions were clear, he says.
They were about a mile offshore at the time of the accident. Martins had taken his daughter cruising shortly after having a few beers at Reckless Ric's bar in Glen Burnie, Md., and was traveling northeast on Furnace Creek toward the adjoining Marley Creek to meet up with his friend Richard John Hynson on the water, says Windemuth. Once Martins arrived at Marley Creek, he proceeded to travel southward.
"The waves were a little choppy that day, maybe half a foot to 2 feet," says Windemuth.
Hynson, 47, of Glen Burnie, Md., was traveling northward on Marley Creek in a 15-foot 1968 Caravelle Starcraft with a Mariner 25-hp outboard engine. Both were traveling 25 to 30 mph, says Windemuth, but Martins collided with Hynson's boat in Marley Creek off Point Pleasant.
"The two boats hit starboard-side to starboard-side," he says. "The impact ejected both Martins and his daughter out of the vessel."
Other boaters in the area jumped into action. The impact knocked Hynson unconscious. The kill switch had turned the engine off on the Larson when Martins and his daughter fell out, but Hynson's vessel was still traveling in circles.
Good Samaritan Mark Smith Jr., who was on his personal watercraft, retrieved Martins from the water and transported him to Hynson's boat, where Martins pulled the key out of the engine. The 13-year-old was taken aboard by another nearby vessel and transported to shore.
"The accident didn't occur that far from shore and we were notified about nine minutes after the accident occurred," says Windemuth. "The EMS, fire department and the Maryland Natural Resources Police arrived on scene at about 6:12 p.m."
Hynson was transported to another vessel nearby, and he and Martins were taken to shore by another good Samaritan. Hynson was then put into the care of the awaiting EMTs, who transported him to the office of the medical examiner in Baltimore. He was later pronounced dead as a result of severe head trauma from the initial impact. Martins was found to have a blood alcohol level of 0.18 - the legal limit to operate a boat in Maryland is 0.08. Hynson had a blood alcohol level of 0.06, according to Windemuth.
"It's a sad story, but a constant remind of why alcohol and boating don't mix," says Windemuth. "Last year was a very high year for the number of fatalities in our state. There were 17, half of which involved alcohol or illegal drugs."
This article originally appeared in the Home Waters sections of the August 2010 issue.