Three boats crashed into the same docks at Rio Lindo Shores on an unusually busy weekend on the Parker Strip. Two of the crashes happened on Saturday, the third on Sunday. The docks are located directly between two popular riverfront bars and directly across from a popular beach.
UPDATE: Parker Live spoke to La Paz County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Donald Schlect who provided more information on each of the incidents, which has been added below.
In the first incident, a jet boat with an open motor was traveling southbound and turned prior to Fox’s, running into a pontoon boat parked at the dock, punching through the side and up onto the deck. It landed with its hull sitting on the front seating of the pontoon. The driver was the solo occupant.
“There was a lot of boat traffic, and the driver had a foot throttle, he was making his turn, hit the chop, which hit the throttle,” said Schlect. “There were no serious injuries and alcohol was not a factor.”
The second incident involved a red boat with an outboard motor crashing into the dock and landing up on top of it. The operator was airlifted to hospital with their injuries.
“He was the single occupant also, hit a wave or lost control, and he was ejected from the boat and had head trauma,” Schlect said. “He was airlifted to Abrazo West in Goodyear.” Alcohol is suspected as a factor but not confirmed, and the Sheriff’s Department is awaiting results of his blood test.
The following day, a third incident happened at the same docks when a mid motor ski boat landed with its nose on the dock at a steep incline and its back end in the water.
“Two occupants in an older Mastercraft,” Schlect said. “Traveling north, it was pretty choppy and rough and they’re not sure what happened, they put it on the dock. Neither of the occupants were hurt but two people on the dock were involved, one pushed the other out of the way to avoid being hit, and there may have been a minor injury there.” The driver was taken to jail for Operating Under the Influence of alcohol.
Schlect told Parker Live that besides alcohol, there were multiple other factors in the crashes.
“It was very crowded this weekend, something we haven’t seen in quite a while,” he said. “We have had several major accidents at that location over the years, the docks get hit quite a bit. It’s between the two bars and the sandbar opposite, plus there’s a change in the current there and some chop.”
The Sheriff’s Department Boating Division is speaking with the U.S. Coastguard about the process of trying to establish the area as a no-wake zone, which would reduce speeds around that bend on the river. Schlect says he believes inexperienced boaters may also have been a factor in at least one of the crashes. The effects of alcohol can be amplified up to 10 times in the heat, he added.
Multiple agencies responded to all three incidents.
Watch an OUI arrest with the Sheriff’s Department HERE
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