MARYLAND

Delegate Don Dwyer in Pasadena boat accident that injures nine

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A police spokesman says a Maryland lawmaker was operating a boat that was in a collision causing serious injuries, and a blood sample was taken from him because investigators believe alcohol could have been a factor.

Md. Del. Don H. Dwyer Jr. read a brief statement to reporters from notes, and took no questions.

Capt. Jerry Kirkwood, a spokesman for the Maryland Natural Resources Police, said Thursday the sample was taken after Delegate Don H. Dwyer Jr. (R-Anne Arundel County) was taken to a Baltimore Hospital.

On Thursday, Dwyer admitted to drinking and operating a boat.

“It is true that I was drinking while operating my boat yesterday,” Dwyer said in a brief statement to reporters outside of the Shock Trauma in Baltimore.

"It has also been reported that my blood alcohol content was .2."

That level is 2.5 times the level of .08 that is considered to be legally intoxicated and all that is required to be convicted of Driving Under the Influence in Maryland.

Dwyer said that he regretted his actions, saying no one should ever drink and operate a motor vehicle or powerboat.

Dwyer did not take questions at the news conference, which lasted less than one minute. He was wheeled outside in a wheelchair, with a brace on his neck and he had his left foot wrapped.

Kirkwood says it's standard procedure for a blood sample to be taken from a boat operator in an accident involving potential life-threatening injuries. Kirkwood did not elaborate on what made investigators believe alcohol may have been a factor.

He says it could range from smelling alcohol or observing containers.

Six people including Dwyer were hospitalized after the accident on the Magothy River near Gibson island Wednesday evening.

Sgt. Brian Albert with the Department of Natural Resources says nine people were injured. Four of the victims are adults; five are children.

Seven victims were taken to area hospitals, Lt. Keith Hamilton with the Anne Arundel County Fire Department added.  The most seriously injured was a 5-year-old child. Hamilton said the child was medevaced to Johns Hopkins Pediatric.

The 5-year-old is the youngest victim involved in the accident. Also injured were a 12-year-old boy, a 7-year-old boy and a 10-year-old boy, who is the 5-year-old's brother. They were taken to Johns Hopkins via ambulance.

Randy Harbin's neighbors wasted no time when they heard an awful sound on the Magothy River around 7 last night. Harbin's boat and a boat operated by Dwyer collided.

Harbin had three grandchildren and two neighborhood children with him at the time.

Andrew Wendell jumped in his boat and witnesses say he plucked four children out of the water.

Neighbor Lisa Willis, a nurse for 30 years, was with him and tended to the injured grandfather and children.

“The whole front of the boat was missing and the kids were screaming and Randy ... there was a whole lot of blood,” Willis says.

Witnesses say another boat went to help Dwyer and his adult male passenger.

"The extent of injury to the boat they should've been hurt worse than they were,” Willis says.

Harbin said his 8-year-old grandson suffered a broken arm and his 5-year-old granddaughter's skull was fractured. But he expected them home from the hospital today.

“There is no explanation for this miracle that occurred out here but I am going to take it,” Harbin says.

He calls it the miracle on the Magothy thanks to his neighbors.

These people are my heroes,” Harbin says. “I thank everyone of them so much.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

 

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