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Florida man arrested in March boat crash

Police arrested a Florida man in connection with a March 18 boat crash that killed two people and injured 10 others.
A file photo from the Walton (Fla.) Sun shows the scene of a boat crash in March at the east Destin jetty that killed two people and injured 10 others.

A file photo from the Walton (Fla.) Sun shows the scene of a boat crash in March at the east Destin jetty that killed two people and injured 10 others.

Police arrested a Florida man in connection with a March 18 boat crash that killed two people and injured 10 others, saying he was drinking when the accident occurred.

Judsen Rodney Cunningham, 30, of Destin, Fla., was arrested Friday on two counts of homicide-negligent manslaughter BUI causing death, two counts of homicide-negligent manslaughter and one count of larceny less than $100,000.

Misdemeanor charges include four counts of violating navigation rules resulting in serious bodily injury, two counts of BUI and property damage and three counts of BUI causing serious bodily injury.

An officer from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said in an affidavit that there was a strong smell of alcohol from Cunningham, who was operating the boat, according to the Walton Sun.

A subpoena of Cunningham’s medical records showed that his blood alcohol content was .164.

On March 18 Cunningham took a 28-foot 2013 Pursuit walk-around cuddy cabin without permission, the affidavit said. About 2 a.m. a witness saw Cunningham and a blond woman arrive at the residence where the boat is stored.

In a sworn statement, Roxanne Angelle said she was with Cunningham when he took the boat and that he led her to believe it belonged to his uncle and that he’d taken it before.

The owner’s son, Brad Spence, told the FWC that Cunningham did not have permission to take it.

The body of Avery Hatchett, 22, was recovered. Anna Sorokina, 22, was ejected from the boat and is presumed dead. Three other people had serious injuries.

The FWC said Cunningham did not drive at a safe speed, and passengers said he did not use his radar. The agency also said Cunningham did not take appropriate action to avoid striking the jetty in East Pass in Destin, where the current is “extremely strong.”

None of the occupants interviewed recall hearing Cunningham designate anyone on board as a lookout.

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