Alexander Williams admitted to the negligent operation of a boat, furnishing alcohol to minors, and tampering with evidence when he appeared in court
A Boston man has pleaded guilty in connection with a 2015 boating accident which left a young woman with severe injuries, including the amputation of her right arm.
Nicole Berthiaume of Auburn, Massachusetts, was 19 at the time of the incident near Spectacle Island in Boston Harbour, USA.
Alexander Williams, 26, of West End admitted to the negligent operation of a boat, furnishing alcohol to minors, and tampering with evidence when he appeared in court.
According to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Berthiaume was one of 14 people on board the 30-foot Chaparral vessel “Naut Guilty” on 30 May, 2015.
In preparation of the outing, Williams obtained what he described as “enough liquor to kill a horse” for the boats’ passengers, which included six young women Williams knew to be under age 21, prosecutors said.
During the boating trip, Berthiaume and others jumped into the water after the boat was anchored in the area of Spectacle Island.
Williams, who did not have knowledge of how to operate the boat, started the vessel’s engine and failed to place it in neutral as the victim swam back to the boat and attempted to climb aboard.
She was pulled underwater by the propeller, and as a result her right arm was severed. She also suffered severe lacerations to her left arm, legs, abdomen, and back.
Boston Police, Boston Emergency Medical Services, Boston Fire Department, State Police, Environmental Police, and the U.S. Coast Guard responded to a distress call from the boat at approximately 7:45 pm.
The victim was rushed to an area hospital for emergency surgery, which included the amputation of her arm.
Berthiaume had earlier given evidence before Suffolk Superior Court Justice Linda Giles.
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“You will rarely hear me complain about the incident, and you will almost never hear me complain about my disability, but that does not mean that it doesn’t kill me every time I look in a mirror, drop something, or accept help from someone,” she told the court.
“I am a strong independent person; that’s something that has not and will never change. I don’t want help from other people, I don’t want people to think I am incapable of anything. I would rather struggle putting on a coffee coozie at Starbucks for 10 minutes and spill it everywhere when I open my car door than have anyone over me help,” continued Berthiaume.
“But to the world I am a damaged disabled person, so most times I will sacrifice my own pride and kindly accept the unwanted help, even though that itself is the most debilitating part,” she added.
During the course of their investigation into the incident, Boston Police obtained a warrant to search Williams’ phone and arrived at Williams’ Longfellow Place residence on the morning of 18 June, 2015.
However, when officers received Williams’ phone, its contents had been erased, prosecutors said.
Suffolk prosecutors recommended guilty findings on all counts, a 2½-year suspended sentence, five years of probation, and $5,000 in restitution for medical costs not covered by insurance or other compensation.
Judge Linda Giles did not find Williams guilty on 13 April 2017 but rather continued his case without a finding for a two-year probationary term.
During that period, Giles ordered, Williams must make $5,000 restitution, complete a certified drug and alcohol awareness programme, and perform 200 hours of community service at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Center or similar facility.
Giles further said that she would retain jurisdiction over Williams’ case in the event that he violates any condition of her orders.
The case against the boat’s owner, attorney Benjamin Urbelis, is pending in Suffolk Superior Court and is expected to go to trial later this year.