Speeding, alcohol cited as causes of fatal boating accident

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By Sophia Aldous

From the miner

SANDPOINT — Speeding, high winds and alcohol were the causes of the fatal boating accident on the Pend Oreille River on June 28 that killed four men, according to the Bonn County Sheriff’s Office. Evidence suggests the boat was traveling about 100 miles per hour at the time of the accident, according to a press release posted to the official sheriff’s office Facebook page on Monday.

“After a comprehensive investigation, the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office has concluded that the boating accident that occurred June 28, 2022 on the Pend Oreille River near Thama Road in the Priest River was caused by excessive speed , which was likely complicated by gusty winds reported in the area at the time,” the release said.

In the course of the investigation, it was also determined that alcohol had contributed to the accident, the statement said. The ship’s owner, Gregory Daiker, had a blood alcohol level of 0.228 BAC, well above the legal limit of 0.08 BAC, and low levels of diazepam. The boat also lacked enough life jackets for the legally required number of people on board the ship.

The bodies of Gregory J. Daiker, 59, of Laclede, Aaron J. Faulhaber, 49, of Laclede, Jason L. Maxson, 51, of Laclede, and John R. Schulte, 59, of Sandpoint, were recovered from the Pend Oreille Flow. Daiker’s body was recovered on the day of the crash; Faulhaber’s body was found in about 80 feet of water near the crash site on Thursday night, July 30. and Maxson and Schulte were recovered near the crash site at a depth of about 60 feet on Friday, July 1. The Bonn County Sheriff’s Office, Marine Division and Dive Team were assisted in the search by the Idaho Fish and Game and Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office Sonar Team.

“Bonner County is fortunate to have beautiful waterways for our residents and visitors to enjoy,” the press release said. “However, those who venture onto the water must also do so responsibly by following all federal, state and provincial regulations (i.e. speed limits, guard zones, etc.), wearing all necessary safety equipment and avoiding substances such as alcohol, prescription drugs, illegal drugs or a combination thereof that could impair the operator’s judgement.”

The Bonn County Sheriff’s Office extended its condolences to the family and friends of the four men and thanked the community “for their support of the families during these difficult times.”

The Sheriff’s Office offers free boating safety courses throughout the season to educate the public about boating laws and safe boating practices on waterways.

Contact 208-263-8417 x-3125 or at [email protected] to learn more about courses.

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