‘They looked helpless’: 10 injured following weekend boat crash at Smithville Lake

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SMITHVILLE, Mo. – A boat crash from the weekend has witnesses wondering how anyone survived.

Boaters on Smithville Lake looked on as two boats crashed into one another, sending 10 people to the hospital. Most of those people come from the same family, and at least two of them suffered serious injuries.

One witness to Saturday’s crash said it sounded like a gunshot ringing out over a crowded lake. Those 10 family members were in a small boat on Smithville Lake on Saturday. Their boat, according to witnesses, was sitting completely still. When a larger boat – a cabin cruiser – ran into their boat, the small boat was ruined and its riders fell into the lake, scrambling for safety. A person who saw it all estimated the second boat was driving at least 30 miles per hour

“They were screaming for help. The look of terror on their face was just – they looked helpless,” Jacob Stallman, one witness to the crash, said.

Stallman and a friend were also at Smithville Lake. Stallman said pieces of the smaller boat flew through the air as the big boat made impact. Stallman called 911, as he and his friend helped members of that family to safety. Stallman said he was upset to see the driver of the cabin cruiser driving on before other concerned boaters went to find him.

“He circled back to us and said, I never saw them. When I got off the phone with 911, he was nowhere to be seen,” Stallman told FOX4. “He didn’t seem to care. He just said, I never saw them and drove off. I don’t really think he was remorseful.”

Crash reports from the Missouri Highway Patrol show Michael Brittain, 41, was cited for driving recklessly. The Highway Patrol doesn’t believe alcohol was a factor.

The charge Brittain faces is a misdemeanor – careless and imprudent use of a boat. A spokesperson for the Missouri Highway Patrol explained that he didn’t go to jail because that charge doesn’t require him to post a bond. FOX4 reached out to Brittain on Monday, but our messages weren’t returned.

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