A man whose boat ran up onto a beach and smashed into a woman is facing criminal charges, Kootenai County sheriff’s officials said Sunday.
Gye St. Louis, 40, of Coeur d’Alene, will be cited for gross negligent operation of a vessel, said Sgt. Dan Soumas.
Meanwhile, the woman St. Louis’ boat struck was allowed to go home from the hospital on Saturday.
With teeth missing, a bloodied eye and an arm sporting a multicolored bruise, Dawn Driscoll, 28, returned to the Spokane motel room where she, her husband and four children had been living.
“She hurts all over her body,” her husband Brian Driscoll said Sunday.
The Driscolls and their children were spending the day at the North Idaho College beach on the Fourth of July when they noticed a small boat headed straight for the shore.
St. Louis had been piloting the 12-foot boat with his son Louis, 17, and David Kilgore, 45, as passengers.
The three had been spinning circles in the water in Kidd Island Bay when they all were pitched out, Soumas said.
The small boat sped at full throttle for more than two miles before it hit the beach.
Dawn and Brian Driscoll quickly pushed their children out of the path of the boat as it plowed across the blanket they had been relaxing on.
The boat smashed into Dawn Driscoll on the right side of her body, pitching her through the air.
“It’s something that shouldn’t have happened,” Brian Driscoll said. “We were there minding our own business having a good time. The next thing we know she’s laying on the beach after an accident.”
Soumas said the boat has a “kill” switch to shut off the engine and prevent such accidents.
One end of the rope is attached to the switch and the other end is supposed to be attached to the boat driver, Soumas said. If the driver goes overboard the kill switch is pulled and the vessel stops in the water.
St. Louis was not wearing the rope to the kill switch even though he had been thrown out of the boat earlier in the day, Sgt. Soumas said.
The citation is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail, Soumas said.
“He’s very apologetic,” Soumas said of St. Louis. “He feels really bad about it.”
Brian Driscoll said the accident has plagued both him and his children who watched as the boat struck Dawn Driscoll.
“It just keeps playing over and over in my head,” Brian Driscoll said. “As soon as the lights go out it’s the Fourth of July all over again.”
The couple had moved from New Jersey to Oregon, then moved again recently to North Idaho to try to start a new life. But health problems plagued Dawn Driscoll and the couple decided to move back to New Jersey to be with family.
Brian Driscoll hopes to send his wife back to New Jersey by airplane on Thursday. He and their four children will drive back.
The couple has no insurance. Brian Driscoll said that after initial news reports of the accident, people have donated money, food and outfits for the children.
“If it had to happen I’m glad it happened here in the Northwest,” he said Sunday.
A fund for the family has been set up at West One Bank, account No. 126004609084.