Boater describes crash in Choptank

Man involved in accident contends that other vessel was improperly anchored

July 09, 2005|By Annie Linskey | Annie Linskey,SUN STAFF

The man steering the cabin cruiser that hit a fishing boat full of people on the mouth of the Choptank River on Thursday - sending two of them to the hospital - says he feels badly about the accident but alleged that the fishing boat was improperly anchored in a channel.

Keith Price, 42, of Pennsylvania said yesterday that he was at the lower console helm of his 53-foot cabin cruiser when he struck a fishing boat. Witnesses at the scene had said they didn't see anyone driving the boat.

"At first I thought they [the boaters] were underway because I couldn't imagine that anybody would be anchored there," said Price. "It would be like parking in the middle of I-95."

Jim Brincefield, the captain of the fishing boat, disputed that account. "Of course we were not in the channel. I can't believe what this man is saying."

Cpl. Ken Turner, a spokesman for the Department of Natural Resources Police, which is investigating the crash, said, "The investigation is continuing and charges are pending."

Brincefield maintains that he was properly anchored - with six other boats nearby - a half-mile from the channel. Vessels are not permitted to anchor in a channel, the deep portion of a waterway marked by buoys.

"Even if I was anchored in the channel - which I wasn't - this man had a responsibility to avoid a collision at all costs. If he saw me, why didn't he move?" Brincefield said.

Price said that the visibility on the water was not very good and he didn't see the boat until it was about 100 yards in front of him. Brincefield says that there was no haze, and he and his passengers saw the boat coming for quite some time before the collision and he sounded his horn to alert the oncoming vessel.

Price veered away just prior to contact and clipped the stern of the Jil Carrie.

Two passengers, Johnny Randolph, 57, and Mary Elizabeth White, 68, both of Washington, were treated and released from Memorial Hospital at Easton.

"I can't imagine how frightening it would be for those people to have my boat bearing down on them," said Price, who said he broke his foot in the crash. "My heart goes out to every one of those people," he said.

Sun staff writer Candus Thomson contributed to this article.

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