Victim’s family offers condolences to man charged in fatal boating accident
A family offered condolences to a Cape Coral man this week after he was charged in a boating accident that resulted in the death of their son.
Gerald and Betty Baldner, the parents of Jason T. Baldner, reached out to Jason Benhard Williams, 37, of 2011 S.E. 13th St., and his family Wednesday.
Jason Baldner died July 28 in hospice care from injuries that he sustained in the May crash. Williams was reportedly driving the boat at the time.
“Our hearts and prayers go our to the Williams family,” the Baldners wrote in a prepared statement. “Jason Williams and our son were close friends for many years. This was truly a tragic accident which will forever affect the lives of both families.”
On Tuesday, the State Attorney’s Office announced that it had filed charges against Williams in the fatal crash. The case was investigated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, which worked with the State Attorney’s Office.
Williams was charged with one count each of boating under the influence manslaughter, boating under the influence resulting in serious bodily injury and boating under the influence with damage. He turned himself Tuesday.
Williams was later released from the Lee County Jail.
He did not return a message seeking comment Thursday.
The Baldners declined to respond to the charges filed.
“We continue to grieve the loss of our son and are trying to bring closure to the events that surrounded his accident,” they wrote in the statement.
On May 8, Williams was reportedly operating a 37-foot boat occupied by Jason Baldner, 35, and another man when the boat crashed into a seawall near Cantry Canal at the end of Coral Point Drive in Cape Coral. The vessel topped the seawall and partially landed on land.
FWC officials reported the boat was traveling at a high rate of speed when it crashed, and alcohol was suspected to have played a role in the accident.
Williams and Baldner were trauma-alerted to Lee Memorial Hospital with varying injuries, along with Eric J. Terpsman, 31, of 1041 S.E. 20th Ave.
Terpsman was unavailable for comment Thursday.
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 care and passed away.