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Man remains hospitalized after May boating accident

By Staff | Jul 1, 2010

While the seawall has been repaired and the investigation continues, a Wisconsin man remains hospitalized following a boating accident in May.
Jason T. Baldner, 35, of 2110 Maplewood Drive, Onalaska, Wis., remained hospitalized as of last week in fair condition at Gundersen Lutheran Health Center in Wisconsin, according to hospital staff.
Baldner’s family has since asked that hospital staff release no further information on his condition.
Baldner was injured May 8 when the 37-foot boat he was riding in hit a seawall near Cantry Canal at the end of Coral Point Drive in Cape Coral at about 7:23 p.m. According to officials, the vessel was traveling at a high rate of speed before it topped the seawall, partially landing on the land.
Jason B. Williams, 36, of 2011 S.E. 13th St., was driving the boat, while Balder and Eric J. Terpsman, 31, of 1041 S.E. 20th Ave, were passengers. All three were trauma-alerted to Lee Memorial Hospital with injuries. Williams and Terpsman were later discharged, and Baldner transferred to Gundersen.
Gary Morse, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said alcohol is suspected to have played a role in the accident, and officials are awaiting test results. The investigation, which was initially expected to take about six weeks, also will likely take longer to complete.
“We got word that the investigator expects that this will take several more months,” Morse said. “One accident victim is still unconscious.”
As of Tuesday, the investigator had not set a deadline to finish.
“We want to try to talk to this person and that’s one of the problems,” he said, referring to Baldner. “Rather than rush to judgement, we want to take our time on this to make sure this information is correct.”
“So, we’re just waiting and hoping,” he added.
Morse would not comment on whether Williams and Terpsman provided contradictory information about what happened the day of the accident.
“It’s under investigation and will remain there until we are reasonably sure that we have all the information that we can get, and that we have a really firm handle on what happened,” he said.
Last week, repairs were finished on the seawall that the boat hit near the river side of the Chantry Canal. Steven Pohlman, director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, said the repairs took about two weeks. The actual repair cost was $10,250.00 and was completed by Honc Marine.
Baldner’s family did not return a message seeking comment.