OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) – The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office said it arrested a 52-year-old Oshkosh man for Saturday night’s hit-and-run boating accident on the Fox River.
The sheriff’s office identified the owner and operator of the boat as Jason Lindemann. He was arrested on 12 counts of recklessly endangering safety and 11 counts of failing to assist after a boating accident. Recklessly endangering security is a felony, with each count carrying up to 10 years in prison. Failure to provide assistance is a crime.
Announcing the arrest, the sheriff’s office wrote: “This investigation has certainly been hampered and unnecessarily prolonged by the fact that the motorboat fled the scene and made no attempt to report its involvement the night of the incident. accident or in the hours that followed.”
The sheriff’s office says multiple agencies helped search nearby boat docks and homes to find the motorboat along with its owner and passengers. They took a lot of advice from the community.
Investigators are still trying to identify two people who were on board the motorboat. Anyone with information that can help the investigation is asked to call the sheriff’s office at (920) 236-7316.
As the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate Saturday night’s boating accident on the Fox River in Oshkosh, we hear of a woman who was on the paddle steamer cruise when she been touched.
Becky Meissner and her husband were on the boat Saturday night to celebrate a friend’s birthday. She tells us that the paddle wheeler “On the Loos Cruise” was approaching The Ground Round at the end of its evening journey to dock when it was hit.
Meissner said she and her husband were on the upper level of the boat when her husband saw the 45ft motorboat approach. “When we got to the Oregon Street bridge and turned around, and my husband said, ‘I don’t think that boat is slowing down,’ and all of a sudden I couldn’t stop looking, and then that’s when the boat hit the pedal boat.
And almost immediately they felt the impact of the collision. The motorboat struck the port side of the paddlewheeler, causing extensive damage.
“It swept us away,” Meissner described. “At the last minute he must have seen us or realized how close he was, then luckily he turned around to just touch the corner on the port side instead of going straight into the boat.”
The party cruiser rocked back and forth.
“I don’t know about the inside bar or the bathroom but a lot of glass broke. I know they removed part of the railing on the port side which certainly caused a lot of damage to the paddle boat .
Meissner said the motorboat operator stopped momentarily before turning off the boat’s lights and leaving.
As the paddlewheeler made it to shore and all 43 passengers and crew were able to get off the boat, Meissner said there was definitely some panic among everyone. Some were in shock at what had happened. One person was taken to hospital while half a dozen were treated at the scene.
“A lot of bruises, a lot of scrapes, a lot of shaking, but other than that I think now for everyone it’s just the anxiety of what happened and we still don’t have still got the result of what we’re looking for,” Meissner said.
Meissner wants answers, and she wants the driver of the hit-and-run boat held accountable for what happened.
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