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Teen gets 5 years in BUI accident

A 19-year-old Rhode Island resident, Ryan Greenberg, was recently sentenced to five years in prison and five years of suspended probation for his role in a boating accident two summers ago that resulted in his friend’s death.

Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Procaccini ordered Greenberg in July to serve 2-1/2 years with the Adult Correctional Institution at the Department of Corrections and 2-1/2 years of home confinement.

Greenberg was out drinking with his friends on a powerboat July 17, 2007, on the Barrington River, according the attorney general’s office. Greenberg, who was 17 at the time, was behind the wheel of a 21-foot Sailfish with a 200-hp outboard engine owned by the parents of one of his friends. At about 7:30 p.m., the group was near the Massasoit Avenue Bridge. Greenberg was on the phone with his girlfriend when he steered the vessel into 17-year-old Patrick Murphy, who was kneeboarding behind the Sailfish.

A report by the state environmental police stated the two had argued about their boating skills and both had been drinking alcohol prior to hitting the water. Murphy died as a result of being hit by the propeller of the Sailfish.

“No family who has suffered a grievous loss ever truly recovers from it,” says Rhode Island attorney general Patrick C. Lynch. “Time might ease the frequency of grief’s sharp sting, but ‘emotional closure’ never occurs. For this reason we offer our deepest condolences to the Murphys.”

During his sentencing, Greenberg apologized to the family and stated he was prepared to accept consequences.

Greenberg was indicted Dec. 3, 2007 by the Statewide Grand Jury on murder in the second degree, boating to endanger and two misdemeanors for refusing to take a chemical test for intoxication and possession of alcohol under the age of 21. Greenberg pleaded not guilty to all four counts Jan. 2, 2008 at his arraignment at the Providence County Superior Court. His bail was set at $100,000 plus imposed conditions that required Greenberg to abstain from alcohol and drugs, undergo random screenings and sign a waiver of extradition. He was also not allowed to use a watercraft and travel was restricted.

On April 22, 2008, Greenberg was brought back to court for refusing to take a field sobriety test and a breath test, thus violating the terms of his bail. Greenberg was imprisoned without bail for 60 days by Providence County Superior Court.

See related article:

- Conn. cracks down on BUI laws

This article originally appeared in the Connecticut & New York Home Waters Section of the October 2009 issue.