Film Spotlights Drunk Boat Drivers

People who would never drive drunk somehow forget that lesson when it comes to partying on the water.

"We have cases where people have run into each other on jet skis while intoxicated," says Judge Lex Anderson. "People have run into islands, and people have been decapitated by propellers of boats."

Across the country, there are more than 5,000 boating accidents every year and alcohol has a role in many of them. While California and Florida top the list, The Early Show correspondent Hattie Kauffman reports, desert-bound Arizona has some of the highest accidents rates in the country. Many of those accused of OUI, operating a boat under the influence, end up in court.

"The lakes now are just so jam packed, compared to what they were even a few years ago," one judge says. "Just the volume of people coming in with OUI tickets has just skyrocketed."

One of them was Angel Lindbergh, 19, convicted of manslaughter in the death of her best friend.

"Because I was being irresponsible," she says, "My best friend is now gone."

Lindbergh had had a few beers while jet skiing on Lake Pleasant, near Phoenix. She collided with her best friend, killing her.

"It gets harder and harder," she says. "It hits me more and more every day. I see her in the hospital, in my mind, in my dreams. I see her body in the coffin."

It was Lindbergh's tragic experience that made Judge Lex Anderson realize that more needs to be done to get out the message about the dangers of drunk boat operators. He began researching the problem, visited emergency rooms, jails, and the morgue.

"Boats can be just as deadly as an automobile," he notes.
  • Tatiana Morales

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