The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation today identified the owner of a boat involved in a fatal hit-and-run crash on West Lake Okoboji as Richard “Chris” Brandt. D-C-I Special Agent-in-Charge John Quinn says Brandt owns a condo near the lake. The 46-year-old Sioux Falls, South Dakota, man is a seasonal resident of the Okoboji area, the agent says, and his boat’s a 26-foot Sea Ray. (see photo above)
Quinn says the description given by passengers who escaped injury in the crash was a boat around 22-feet long that was mostly white in color. It happened around 2 in the morning, in a split second, he points out, adding “It was close. The boat we seized was white with a black stripe and the one that was described is white with a red stripe, and we feel confident we have the right boat.”
29-year-old Justin Nearman of Sioux Falls was arrested this week and charged with being intoxicated while operating a boat causing a death. There aren’t any charges filed against the boat’s owner, and Quinn says they don’t anticipate filing any. He confirms the boat’s owner was acquainted with Nearman the man charged with being its operator the night of the crash. Quinn says they were co-workers, and says Brandt posted Nearman’s bond after he was arrested in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, this week. Brandt has not been charged in the case.
Nearman’s been out on bond since his court appearance yesterday (Thursday). Nearman has a court date in September on an extradition hearing and Quinn says “during the interim if he so chooses he could turn himself in to Dickinson County authorities, but at this point in time he has not.” Nearman’s lawyer this week was quoted as saying Nearman will turn himself in to Iowa authorities. The crash, early the morning of August 12, killed 51-year-old Michael Brosnahan of Perry and injured his wife, who was released earlier this week from a Sioux Falls hospital.