Prosecutors await test results for boat crash that killed 2 near Harsens Island

Tom Greenwood
The Detroit News

Port Huron — The St. Clair County Prosecutors Office said it is awaiting the completion of accident reconstruction and blood tests before it makes a determine of possible charges in a boating crash near Harsens Island that killed two people on Aug. 4.

“The sheriff’s department is compiling their crash reconstruction, which takes a fair amount of time since it occurred on the water,” said Prosecutor Michael D. Wending.

“They’re also awaiting forensic results as to the driver of the boat and any possible blood alcohol level. Once those are in, I expect the sheriff’s department will present a charge to our office within the next seven days.”

Wending said his office will review the material and then inform the sheriff’s department if there are other things it needs to do.

“If there isn’t then we’ll make a decision and move forward from that point,” Wending said.

The crash occurred on a clear evening at about 7 p.m. when two boats collided on the south channel near Harsens Island.

Killed in the crash were Robert Koontz, 57, of Chesterfield Township, and Nancy Axford, 68, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Three other people were also injured in the crash.

According to reports, the incident occurred when a 25-foot Baja boat, driven by a 32-year-old Chesterfield Township man, hit the wake of a passing boat and went airborn before crashing into a cabin cruiser.

According to witnesses, the Baja was being driven at a high rate of speed just before the crash occurred.

The driver of the Baja was arrested but is currently out on bond.

“In the meantime, both boats are in secured storage and the evidence is under our control,” Welding said.

“We are keeping in contact with the families of the victims and they are well aware of the time line of the case.”

Harsens Island is located about 30 miles northeast of Detroit.

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