Two Men Charged in Fatal Boating Crash

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By KCRG Intern

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) — Two Burlington men were charged Friday with felonies after authorities alleged they were driving boats while drunk and caused a collision on the Mississippi River in May that killed four people.

Joseph Schier Jr., 21, Douglas Metcalf, 22, were charged with boating while intoxicated causing a death and four counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Des Moines County Sheriff Mike Johnstone said a few days after the crash that the accident occurred while a group of people were partying on an island sandbar on the river near Burlington in the early morning of May 19. Two flat-bottomed aluminum boats were being used to carry people from the island to shore.

The boats collided nearly head-on at about 2 a.m. One boat had nearly 11 people on board. All were thrown into the water.

Killed were Matthew House, Jacob Boyd, Caitlyn Atchley, and Blake Eakins. All were in their early 20s and from Burlington.

No trial date has been set for Schier and Metcalf.

Johnstone said there was no moonlight on the night of the crash, which occurred about four miles north of the U.S. Highway 34 bridge. One boat had no lights; it's unclear if the other did, Johnstone said.

In 2011 Iowa passed a law that lowered the blood-alcohol threshold for boating while intoxicated from .10 to .08 — the same standard for driving a car.
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