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DNR identifies driver, victims in weekend boat crash

Investigators to reconstruct accident; charges not yet filed

POSTED: May 31, 2013 11:50 a.m.

A teen involved in a boating accident last week that left two people injured was identified Friday as Mitchell Durbin, 18, of Flowery Branch.

Durbin was driving a boat at about midnight May 24 on Lake Lanier when it hit the port side of a Sea-Doo personal watercraft, injuring Trent Dewberry, 23, of Powder Springs, and Katherine Sonday, 20, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

The accident happened near Old Federal Park.

The boat, also carrying a 16-year-old passenger who was not identified, left the scene of the accident, according to the DNR. Hall County dispatch received the call that the Sea-Doo was swamped and the two riders needed help.

Dewberry, who was driving the Sea-Doo, received numerous facial fractures that required surgery. Sonday also received facial injuries and a foot injury. Both were taken from the scene to Northeast Georgia Medical Center but were no longer listed at the hospital Friday.

No charges have been filed.

A DNR Critical Incident Reconstruction Team will reconstruct the wreck as the investigation continues. When the report is complete it will be handed over to the Hall County District Attorney to determine charges.

Durbin, accompanied by his father, came forward the next night, making a statement to the Department of Natural Resources.

According to a DNR news release, the boy’s father heard about the crash near Old Federal Park on the radio, noticed damage to his boat and confronted his son, who admitted to hitting something but said he did not see or hear anything.

The teen was injured with cuts to his arm in the crash. He said he was taking on water so he went to the boat ramp at Old Federal to take the boat out of the water.

The vessel was impounded and is being processed for evidence.

The accident occurred just at the start of the busy Memorial Day weekend on Lanier, kicking off the summer season.


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