The 51-year-old skipper of a speedboat that ran over two people on the Vinkeveense Plassen in 2014 has been sentenced to four years in prison.
Four residents from Leusden went with the boat to celebrate the weekend. The skipper had no lights on his speedboat and on the evening in question had a collision with a sloop, which contained four people on board. Afterwards it turned out that he had sailed six times faster than the maximum speed allowed. Of the four people on board, two friends aged 42 and 51 were hit by the propeller and did not survive the accident. The skipper had continued sailing after the collision. When asked, he stated that he had not seen the sloop. He also said that he had not realized that he had sailed onto a boat; he thought he had hit a tree trunk or a buoy. His arrest the next morning revealed that he had three times the permitted amount of alcohol in his blood.
According to the court in Utrecht, although there was no question of intent, the skipper took unacceptable risks and his sailing behavior was ‘reckless’. Also, the defendant deliberately left the victims behind, the court concluded. During the hearing of his case, the public prosecutor had demanded eight years in prison against the man from Oosterbeek and a five-year sailing ban. The court imposed a shorter sentence because there was no question of intent but of death by fault, a lesser qualified crime. The skipper’s license was revoked for five years.
It is not yet clear when he will have to serve his sentence. He was not immediately arrested in court on Tuesday. He did spend some time in pre-trial detention immediately after the incident. This time will probably be deducted. This is the second incident concerning an accident in pleasure boating in a relatively short period of time on which the court in the middle of the Netherlands has issued a criminal judgement. The other case was an accident on the Vecht in which a passenger hit his head against a bridge and died. There the skipper was also criminally prosecuted and convicted. The case is described in Waterkampioen 2015, number 12, under the title: “skipper or driver”, elsewhere on this website.