LAKE GAGE, Ind. (WANE) – A 20-year-old Fort Wayne woman was arrested Saturday evening for boating while intoxicated, according to Indiana DNR Law Enforcement.
Around 7:13 p.m. a 21-foot boat operated by Dominique Effinger made a violent turn and threw 10 people into the water, according to DNR Spokesman James Price.
Two people were airlifted to a Fort Wayne hospital — one with a skull fracture and another with a partial lower arm amputation. Other people who were hurt were taken to a hospital in Angola with non-life threatening injuries. A DNR statement said an initial report to conservation officers indicated four injured, but the exact number of people injured has not been confirmed.
Price said the unmanned boat circled in the water at approximately 30 miles per hour. As it neared shore, Conservation Officer Jake Carlile threw a rope around the boat’s propeller in an attempt to get it slowed down. Carlile was able to wrangle the boat, but it struck a pier and then rear-ended Carlile’s boat.
His boat became disabled, but Carlile was able to use another boat to eventually get into the unmanned boat and stop it.
Sabrina Minser, who provided an eyewitness account of the incident, told 24-Hour News 8’s sister station NewsChannel 15 that her husband escorted a paramedic out onto the water via a jet ski. Price said several others helped take victims from the water to the shore so that arriving paramedics and firefighters could begin treatment.
DNR investigators said Effinger was operating the boat on Lake Gage at high speeds. They believe she was under the influence of alcohol.
Effinger was initially charged with boating while intoxicated causing injury and minor in possession of alcohol.
The incident remains under investigation.