Chippewa County (WQOW) - New information has been released about last July's fatal boat crash on the Chippewa River. Four people were killed that night, including three members of a wedding party.
New information was released in a press conference Wednesday, but no decision has been made about whether charges will be filed.
The district attorney says he needs more time to go through the case.
"This accident could have been prevented," says Chippewa County District Attorney Steve Gibbs.
It's been nearly a year since two boats collided on the Chippewa River taking the lives of four men.
"The usual time frame for blood on an OWI case or a drug case is 9 to 12 months. Just because there were fatalities here, it didn't put us in the front of the line," Gibbs says.
Now, the completed investigation is in the hands of Chippewa County District Attorney Steve Gibbs. And that investigation is lengthy,
"As you can see, it's a three ring binder full of information," says Gibbs.
It reveals new details about what investigators believe caused the crash.
"It was caused by the speed of the watercrafts going very fast at night," Gibbs says. "Both boats were traveling at a relatively high rate of speed. They were estimated to be in excess of 30 miles an hour at the time."
Gibbs says the throttles of both boats were stuck in the full speed positions when first responders arrived.
"Additionally, the other two factors were alcohol and drugs, says Gibbs.
Specifically, in the systems of both boat drivers. Mark Michels, the driver of the speedboat, was killed. The D.A. says he had a blood alcohol level of 0.127, and had two prescription drugs in his system. Robert Romanshek, the driver of the deck boat, had a B.A.C. of 0.08. He also tested positive for marijuana, along with two other passengers on the boat who were killed.
"I am not of the belief that you should just charge something if you think you can do it, I charge what I believe I can prove, and I still have to gather more information on that. I want to thoroughly think this through before I make my finally decision. I only received this last week."
Steve Gibbs says he could make a decision within the next few months.
At least three wrongful death lawsuits have been filed, alleging that one or both boat operators were negligent.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2013 WorldNow and WXOW. All Rights Reserved.
Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Theresa Wopat at 507-895-9969. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at firstname.lastname@example.org.