Fatal boat crash still under investigation, officials stress boater safety
CAMDEN COUNTY - The Missouri State Highway Patrol is investigating a boating crash that left three dead and two injured early Saturday morning.
Hailey Hochanadel, Daniel Lewis and Joseph Lemark were all pronounced dead on the scene. Hayden Frazier and Ashley Lamb were taken to the hospital with injuries. All five were in their early twenties.
The driver of the boat, Frazier, was arrested on suspicion of boating while intoxicated. As of Monday night, prosecutors had not filed charges.
Hochanadel just finished her junior year at the University of Missouri and was a member of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority. The sorority released a statement Monday describing her as a "compassionate soul who loved helping others."
The crash is drawing attention to the issue of boater safety at the Lake of the Ozarks.
According to the Missouri Highway Patrol's data report for 2016, 50 percent of the 182 boat crashes in Missouri happened at the Lake of the Ozarks.
Sgt. Scott White with the Missouri Highway Patrol said there are a number of things boaters can do to be safer on the water. He recommended slowing down when waters are rough and checking navigation lights before leaving the dock when boating at night.
The data report listed water conditions, inattention and inexperience as common contributing circumstances in boat crashes. In 2016, 37 of the reported crashes involved alcohol.
White said the Highway Patrol typically makes arrests for boating while intoxicated on a weekly basis during the summer season.
"Alcohol is one of the leading contributing factors in fatal crashes on waterways," White said. "It's a choice when someone decides to get behind the wheel, whether it be a car or a boat. People know the risks."
White noted that he was speaking in general terms about boating while intoxicated, not specifically about the crash Saturday.