Boat operator, 20, hit with 5 charges

STEUBEN COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) A 20-year-old Fort Wayne woman has been charged with two felonies and three other counts related to an incident on Lake Gage earlier this month in which a boat ran out of control and tossed 10 people overboard.

Dominique Effinger was charged in Steuben County Court with Operating a Motorboat While Intoxicated Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury to Another Person and Operating a Motorboat with an Alcohol Concentration Equivalent to at Least .08 Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury to Another Person, both felonies. Effinger also faces misdemeanor charges of Operating a Motorboat While Intoxicated, Operating a Motorboat with an Alcohol Concentration Equivalent to at Least .08 and Minor Consuming Alcohol related to the July 15 incident.

Dominique Effinger faces charges related to a boating incident on Lake Gage in Steuben County in July, 2017.

It was that day, around 7:13 p.m., when a 21-foot boat operated by Effinger made a violent turn and threw ten people into the water of Lake Gage. DNR Spokesman James Price said then that the unmanned boat circled in the water at approximately 30 miles per hour before it was eventually slowed and corralled by a conservation officer.

Two people were air lifted to a Fort Wayne hospital; one with a skull fracture and another with a partial lower arm amputation. Several others suffered non-life threatening injuries.

DNR investigators said Effinger was operating the boat on Lake Gage at high speeds. The Steuben County Prosecutor’s Office said in a news release Monday that she was also under the influence of alcohol.

Effinger will be formally arraigned later, the prosecutor’s office said.

The office added: “There are aspects of the investigation that are ongoing, including discovery of the full extent of some of the injuries. Depending on the outcome of that investigation, the filing of additional charges is possible.”

Video of the out-of-control boat submitted to NewsChannel 15 by witnesses spread around the country.