The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has recovered a boat from the Des Moines River that was involved in a fatal collision in hopes of getting a better idea how the accident happened. D.N.R. spokesman, Kevin Baskins, says reconstructing a boat accident is tougher than doing so for vehicles on dry land.
“You don’t have skid marks on pavement, some of the pieces may’ve fallen into the water and washed away,” according to Baskins. “So for the most part, you are trying to get eyewitness accounts, and then our people are pretty highly trained at looking at the physical evidence that is available — in this case the two boats — and piecing together from the witness accounts and physical evidence kind of what happened.”
The other boat involved made it back to the dock as was not as heavily damaged as the one that had to be pulled from the river. The accident resulted in the death of 49-year-old Kelley Starrett of West Des Moines, the brother of 46-year-old Tony Starrett of Des Moines, who was operating one of the boats.
Tony Starrett, and the other boat operator, 54-year-old Steven Mayo of Des Moines, were both charged with operating a boat while intoxicated. Baskins says officers will examine the damage to the two craft and be able to determine some of what happened.
“They can look at…fibers that may’ve been transferred from one boat to t he other and what the impact was. So there’s a number of things that they are trained to look at when you have a boating incident,” Baskins says. The findings of the D.N.R. will determine if other action is taken against the boaters.
Baskins says,”The evidence and the investigation report will be completed, once that’s completed, our officers will sit down with the county attorney’s office to determine what if any other charges would be appropriate.” The accident happened Sunday evening as the Starrett family was on a Father’s Day outing.