Massachusetts: Ben Urbelis charged with drunk boating after Nicole Berthiaume lost her arm in prop; search of harbor was naught for severed limb

Naut Guilty photo courtesy of Boston Globe

Naut Guilty photo courtesy of Boston Globe

DWI lawyer was operating his boat named “Naut Guilty” while intoxicated, according to cops and Coast Guard

High Bail Set in Charges of Drunken Boating Placed Against Boston DWI Attorney Benjamin Urbelis in Incident That Severed Arm of Passenger

BOSTON, MASS. — June 2, 2015 – Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley announced that charges of operating a motor vessel while intoxicated have been placed against Benjamin P. Urbelis.

Benjamin P. Urbelis, 33, of Charlestown, center, appears for his arraignment at Boston Municipal Court on Monday, June 1, 2015. Urbelis, a Boston attorney who specializes in defending people charged with drunken driving, has been held on $75,000 bail after pleading not guilty to operating a boat while drunk after a passenger fell overboard and lost her arm in the propeller. (Ted Fitzgerald/The Boston Herald via AP, Pool)

Benjamin P. Urbelis, 33, of Charlestown, center, appears for his arraignment at Boston Municipal Court on Monday, June 1, 2015. Urbelis, a Boston attorney who specializes in defending people charged with drunken driving, has been held on $75,000 bail after pleading not guilty to operating a boat while drunk after a passenger fell overboard and lost her arm in the propeller. (Ted Fitzgerald/The Boston Herald via AP, Pool)

“Benjamin P. Urbelis was arraigned in the Boston Municipal Court today on charges of causing serious bodily injury while operating a boat under the influence of alcohol, negligent operation of a boat, and the civil offense of operating a motorboat with no identification number, all in connection with this weekend’s maiming of a 19-year-old Auburn woman in Boston Harbor,” said Conley in a press statement.

Assistant District Attorney Nicole Rimar of the DA’s Major Felony Bureau recommended that Urbelis be held on a $75,000.00 bond, which Judge Sally Kelly imposed along with an order that the DWI attorney surrender his passport.

According to the prosecutor, the U. S. Coast Guard and marine units of the Boston Police, State Police, Massachusetts Environmental Police and Boston Fire Departments all responded to the area of the Boston Harbor near Spectacle Island at about 7:45 pm Saturday, May 30, 2015. A distress call had come in from the Naut Guilty, a boat owned by the attorney.  The first responders all worked together to rescue the injured woman and searched vainly for her severed arm.

Urbelis and 12 additional passengers were brought to shore with some of the party on the party boat filled with huge amounts of booze being as young as 15 years old. The Naut Guilty was towed to a police dock for further investigation.

Prosecutors say that Urbelis was at the helm and operating the 30 foot Chaparral when the tragedy occurred.

Nicole Berthiaume was with eight other girls aged 19 to 22 when she jumped off the Naut Guilty to retrieve a boat cushion and suffered the loss of an arm to the boat's prop.  Facebook photo

Nicole Berthiaume was with eight other girls aged 19 to 22 when she jumped off the Naut Guilty to retrieve a boat cushion and suffered the loss of an arm to the boat’s prop. Facebook photo

Based on witness interviews and the examination of the victim’s injuries, investigators believe that Urbelis was operating the boat and had control over the navigation of the speedboat when the event unfolded.

“At some point while he was attempting to anchor, the evidence suggests, she and other passengers jumped into the water to retrieve a pad that had blown off the front of the boat. The young woman had trouble re-boarding, however, and was grievously injured by the active propeller.

About four hours following, Urbelis finally agreed to take a Breathalyzer test and blew a .09, over the legal limit for operating a vessel or a vehicle. Urbelis is represented by attorney Daniel O’Malley and pleaded not guilty pending another appearance on June 26th in court.

 

COAST GUARD RESPONDS TO INJURED WOMAN IN BOSTON HARBOR

BOSTON — A Coast Guard rescue crew responded to an injured woman last night after she fell overboard near Spectacle Island in Boston Harbor.

At 7:43 p.m., Coast Guard Sector Boston received a call from Massachusetts State Police regarding a 911 call from the 29-foot recreational vessel Naut Guilty. The caller reported that a female passenger had fallen overboard and suffered severe injuries.

A Station Boston rescue crew aboard a 45-foot Response Boat Medium was diverted from a routine mission, arrived on scene at 7:52 p.m., brought the woman aboard, and administered first-aid. The crew was met by Boston Fire Marine One, who took the woman aboard and subsequently transferred her to Massachusetts General Hospital.

“Our crews train constantly and are ready to respond around the clock, no matter the mission,” said Petty Officer 1st class Dean Drake, operations unit controller at Sector Boston command center. “We’ll continue to work with our state and local partners to determine how this accident occurred, and how to prevent it in the future,” he said.

Massachusetts State Police are currently investigating the cause of the accident.

The female victim is currently at Massachusetts General Hospital. Her condition is unknown at this time.

  • ( Boston, MA,05/30/15) Police inspect the Naut Guilty after a boating accident in Boston Harbor. Saturday, May 30, 2015. (Staff photo by Stuart Cahill) Courtesy of Boston Globe

 

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