Operator of boat that spun out of control to stand trial

ANGOLA, Ind. (WANE) A 20-year-old Fort Wayne woman who prosecutors say was drunk when she operated a boat that spun out of control on Lake Gage in July, tossing passengers overboard, will face trial next year.

Dominique M. Effinger, 20, will stand trial May 21-25, 2018, for the July 15 incident on the Steuben County lake where authorities said she lost control of a 2007 Correct Craft Air Nautique motorboat. Ten people were thrown overboard and two had to be airlifted from the area with serious injuries.

Dominique Effinger

Effinger is charged in Steuben County Court with felony operating a motorboat while intoxicated resulting in serious bodily injury, operating a motorboat with an alcohol concentration equivalent to at least .08 percent resulting in serious bodily injury, operating a motorboat while intoxicated, operating a motorboat with an alcohol concentration at least .08 percent and minor consuming alcohol.

It was around 7:15 p.m. that mid-July when the 21-foot boat operated by Effinger made a violent turn and threw its passengers into the water of Lake Gage. DNR officials 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 she was also under the influence of alcohol.

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