The penalties start with 30 days in jail for a Suquamish man in the wake of a high-speed boating collision that left one man with a shattered pelvis, another with a broken shoulder and several others scrambling for safety after being catapulted into the waters of Wasp Passage in July, 2011.
On Jan. 18, Henry Theodore Jackson, Jr., 44, pleaded guilty in San Juan County Superior Court to one count of boating while under the influence, a misdemeanor, and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. He was ordered to pay $1,500 in fines and fees, and a minimum of $16,068 in restitution as well. He will begin serving the 30-day jail sentence Feb. 11.
The bulk of the court-ordered restitution, $13,588, is earmarked for the Lummi Nation to help cover costs incurred by its tribal health center in treating several of the men injured in the early July boating debacle. Restitution for five of the seven men traveling onboard Jackson Jr.'s boat at the time of the crash, all of whom are either Lummi or Suquamish tribal members, has yet to be determined.
Jackson Jr. and a group of men spent a day fishing in the San Juans, and then rafted their fishing boats together in Blind Bay, on the north side of Shaw Island, for the night. After dinner, seven of the men boarded Jackson Jr.'s 22-foot fiberglass boat and at about 7 p.m. traveled through Wasp Passage en route to Friday Harbor for an evening of entertainment and bar-hopping. The group left Friday Harbor about three-and-a-half hours later to return to Blind Bay.
According to prosecutors, the 22-foot boat was traveling between 30-35 knots when it entered Wasp Passage from the west and then, with Jackson Jr. at the helm, plowed into a cluster of rocks surrounding Low Island at full force. Three of the passengers were hurled overboard as a result of the impact, one of whom struck his head and lost consciousness, and nearly all were suffering from hypothermia when Sheriff's deputies arrived at the scene a short time later.
Nearly four hours after the collision, Jackson Jr.'s blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit, according to court documents.
In addition to boating under the influence, Jackson Jr. was charged in August, 2012, with two counts of assault by watercraft, a Class B felony carrying maximum penalties of 10 years in prison, a $20,000 fine, or both. He initially pleaded innocent and was scheduled to stand trial in mid-March. The felonies were dismissed at the time he pleaded guilty to the lesser offense.
Prosecutors noted in the charging documents that Jackson Jr. was arrested in July for DUI, in Kitsap County, while knowingly under investigation for his role in the boating collision at Low Island.
— Scott Rasmussen