Michigan boater faces BWI charges


A 32-year-old Michigan man was arraigned on alcohol-related charges in a fatal boat crash that took the lives of two people in the Great Lakes region this summer.

Brandon Verfaille, of Chesterfield Township, was arraigned Wednesday in front of St. Clair County District Judge John Monaghan on two counts of operating while intoxicated causing death and one count of operating while intoxicated causing serious injury, according to The Times Herald, citing court documents.

Verfaillie’s bond was set at $75,000 cash or surety, according to court records.

Per the conditions of his bond, Verfaillie must not drink alcohol and must wear an alcohol-sensitive tether. He also cannot operate an automobile or boat.

Officials said Verfaillie was drunk when the 25-foot Baja powerboat he was operating rode up and over a cabin cruiser on Aug. 3 in the St. Clair River’s South Channel, which is about 50 miles northwest of Detroit.

Robert Koontz, 57, and 68-year-old Nancy Axford, passengers on the cabin cruiser, were killed in the crash.

James Simasko, a lawyer representing Robert Koontz’s wife, Marlene, in a lawsuit against Verfaillie, has said that she suffered lifelong injuries in the crash.


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