Police Are Now Calling This 2020 Fatal Boating Accident a BUI Manslaughter Case

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Suspect Arrested Nearly 18 Months After Deadly Key West Boat Crash

The driver of a boat that capsized in January 2020, killing a passenger, was arrested on charges of boating under the influence manslaughter. Law enforcement says that the boat operator was believed to be impaired by a combination of drugs and alcohol at the time of the crash.

At Mase Mebane Seitz, we represent individuals who have been injured or killed in boating accidents in Miami and throughout South Florida. A driver who is boating under the influence is a risk to everyone on the water and must be held accountable. If you were harmed in a boating accident, contact our office at (844) 627-3529 for a free consultation. 

Deadly Key West Boating Accident

According to the Miami Herald, local entertainer Johnny Louis “Jeep” Caillouet is suspected of being under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs when the boat he was driving crashed, killing a woman. The 71-year-old is facing felony charges of boating under the influence manslaughter. 

The initial crash occurred on the night of January 21, 2020. As reported by the Herald, Caillouet was driving a 2003 11-foot Carolina Skiff during strong winds. His passenger, 49-year-old Saronne Lee Prater, was seated on a cooler when the boat capsized, ejecting both people from the vessel. Prater later succumbed to her injuries at the Lower Keys Medical Center.

Refusal to Submit to a Blood Draw

Caillouet initially refused to submit to a blood draw to determine whether he was boating under the influence. Investigators obtained a search warrant for a forced blood draw. Alcohol and drugs were found in his system.

Released lab results show that a number of drugs were in Caillouet’s system, including:

  • Diazepam
  • Nordiazepam
  • Temazepam
  • Carisoprodol
  • Meprobamate
  • Tetrahydrocannabinol

Law enforcement had observed signs of impairment during the initial investigation but did not immediately place Caillouet under arrest. The arrest came almost 18 months later. Bond was set at $250,000.

The Dangers of Boating Under the Influence 

Boating under the influence can have both criminal and civil implications. A boating accident that was caused by an impaired driver can result in a civil lawsuit. The civil lawsuit allows for a person injured or killed by an intoxicated operator to obtain compensation for their losses.

A BUI is a serious offense in Florida. Boating while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs puts everyone at risk, including other boaters, swimmers, and passengers on the vessel. Conditions can change suddenly on the water. Someone operating a boat must be able to think quickly to protect themselves and others. Alcohol and drugs impair a person’s thinking and slow their reaction time.

Hurt or Injured in a BUI Accident? Get a Free Case Evaluation.

If you were hurt or injured in a BUI accident, contact Mase Mebane Seitz for a free consultation. Our legal team is trial-tested, having recovered millions of dollars on behalf of clients throughout South Florida. 

Call our office today at (844) 627-3529 to discuss your case with a lawyer. We can help you determine if you should take legal action against a negligent party.