According to an article found on ajc.com, an 11-year-old boy who has been critically injured on Lake Lanier is the stepson of Atlanta-based singer Usher. Apparently the boy and a 15-year-old girl were being pulled on inner tubes when a man on a jet ski struck them. Initial reports indicate the jet ski rider and the children were in the same party when the incident occurred on Friday. The report says that alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the incident.
Rangers from the Dept. of Natural Resources will reportedly be out Monday in an effort to recreate the incident to determine the role of the various watercraft involved and to gather data on the accident. Law enforcement is likely to already be working with the District Attorney's office to determine if charges will be filed. Typically, in these types of cases, authorities will first determine if criminal charges are warranted and then specify what charges could be appropriate. Even if alcohol was not present in the driver's system, there could still be valid charges filed.
Serious injury by vessel, under Georgia law, is a felony charge carrying a 1 to 5 year prison sentence. The serious injury law is enacted when a serious injury has occurred while a person was violating another boating law in Georgia. These prerequisite laws include boating under the influence, reckless operation of a watercraft, failure to give aid or assistance to another party after an accident, and failing to stop for law enforcement. Reckless operation would be the most likely charge in a situation where there is no alcohol present, but actions which amount to criminal negligence in an accident.