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SAO receives file in fatal boat crash

By Staff | Nov 27, 2010

An investigation into a fatal boat accident in Cape Coral has been turned over to the State Attorney’s Office for review for possible criminal charges.
Jason T. Baldner, 35, of 2110 Maplewood Drive, Onalaska, Wis., died July 28 from injuries that he sustained when a 37-foot boat he was riding in crashed into a seawall near Cantry Canal at the end of Coral Point Drive. The accident occurred May 8. The vessel topped the seawall and partially landed on land.
Officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which investigated the case before handing it to the state a few weeks ago, reported that boat was traveling at a high rate of speed and alcohol was suspected to have played a role in the crash.
“It is in their hands,” Gary Morse, a FWC spokesman, said Wednesday.
According to Morse, the State Attorney’s Office will review the case and decide if any charges are warranted, and if so, what and who to prosecute.
Officials from the state could not comment on the case Wednesday.
“We typically do not discuss potential pending cases, and I can’t do so now,” Samantha Syoen, spokeswoman for the State Attorney’s Office, said.
Balder’s family could not be reached for comment.
On May 8, Jason B. Williams, 36, of 2011 S.E. 13th St., was reportedly driving the boat, while Balder and Eric J. Terpsman, 31, of 1041 S.E. 20th Ave., were passengers. After the crash, the men were trauma-alerted to Lee Memorial Hospital with varying injuries.
While Williams and Terpsman were eventually discharged, Baldner was transferred to Gundersen Lutheran Health Center in Wisconsin. A website set up by his family documented his progress until Baldner was placed into hospice case and passed away. Baldner reportedly had complications.
The FWC investigation was first expected to take about six weeks, but had been delayed because the investigator had hoped to speak with Baldner about what happened. Officials also were waiting on test results about possible impairment.
At the time, Morse would not discuss what information, if any, had been provided by Williams and Terpsman, nor why Baldner’s statement was so central to the investigation.
A telephone message left for Williams was not returned Wednesday.
Terpsman could not be reached for comment.