GH boat captain pleads innocent to summer crash

A Grand Haven man charged in connection with a boating crash in Lake Michigan near Port Sheldon last month entered a not-guilty plea when he was arraigned Tuesday morning in Ottawa County's 58th District Court.
Becky Vargo
Oct 16, 2013


Steven Jay Rescorla, 58, was charged with operating a watercraft while intoxicated as the result of a crash that left two other Grand Haven residents injured. Court papers indicated he had a blood-alcohol content of 0.10 or more.

The misdemeanor charge carries a penalty of up to 93 days in jail, a fine of up to $500 and up to 45 days of community service. The court could also suspend his privilege to operate a watercraft for one year.

Judge Susan Jonas noted that the conditions of Rescorla's $100 bond are to not possess or consume alcohol or controlled substances.

Police said Rescorla’s 36-foot powerboat crashed into an anchored 17-foot fishing boat at about 6 p.m. Sept. 2. The jolt launched 58-year-old Barbara Ramoie off the bow of the fishing boat she shared with her husband, Larry Baum. Baum was thrown from side to side by the impact.

“It was like a horror story, but it was real life,” Baum said after the arraignment on Tuesday.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.



Just an OWI instead of 'causing an accident resulting in injury' like we have on the roads?

There's really not much incentive for a careless person to operate a boat safely. Thankfully, there are plenty of good boaters who do so because they ought to.


I've just recently taken to the waters of Spring Lake and Grand Haven.
Most folks are fine and courtious when underway, but you also run into folks who travel far to fast for conditions and traffic, and then you run into folks who anchor down in the middle of Spring Lake.

Why do people treat boats differently than they do cars.
Boggles my mind.


So he is going to cost taxpayers by going to trial? Just plead guilty and take your damn medicine already. Lawyers suck, making him plead not guilty when knowing he is guilty. MAN UP STEVEN and change your plea to guilty and give your victims some relief from having to go through it all again. Can't fix stupid.


People, Presumption of innocence until proven guilty has saved many from erroneous convictions.


Fair enough, and as such it is his right to plead not guilty. What do you think about the charges applied in this case?


The Guy crashed his boat into another boat hurting people. He's lucky they weren't killed. He left the helm while having the throttles engaged. That is unbelievable. It's not like he didn't know where he was going or that he couldn't see the boat in front of him due to fog.
He should plead guilty and take his punishment like a man.


Agree 100%.



River Man

It is going to be a huge waist to claim mechanical when he could have shut the engine off or reduced the throttles. The lake is big and this is going to be a hard case to defend. Surprised he did not plead no contest and saved his money to defend himself in the civil case that should be filed. If he is found guilty the civil case will be an easy win.

My favorite part is the one year with no boating...

Larry: Please save the next guys life and take all of this guys money so all he can only afford a row boat or a kayak. It looks like the best the law can do is make the water safer for a year.


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