Cigarette boat driver accused of swamping kayaker, LDWF says
Agents with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries arrested a Lafayette man last weekend for allegedly operating his cigarette boat while intoxicated on the Vermilion River.
According to a press release, Benjamin J. Pooler III, 46, was cited for reckless operation of a vessel and three counts of aggravated assault and booked into the Lafayette Parish Jail.
Three kayakers claimed Pooler appeared to try to run them over and was traveling at a high rate of speed in a no-wake zone about 10:30 a.m. Saturday near Southside Park, the release states. The kayakers said Pooler circled them multiple times and eventually swamped one kayak before they were able to call 911.
At the scene, agents received another tip saying a cigarette boat was operating recklessly on the river and had stopped on the bank after striking a tree, according to the release.
Agents observed Pooler on the Vermilion near Ambassador Caffery Parkway, and after completing a field sobriety test, arrested him for DWI, reckless operation and aggravated assault, the release states.
According to the release, agents noted Pooler’s vessel had leaves and tree limbs inside, indicating he had hit a tree somewhere on the river.
DWI brings a $300 to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail. Reckless operation of a vessel carries up to a $200 fine and up to 30 days in jail, and ggravated assault brings up to a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail, the release states.