Boat crash suspect pleading not guilty

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SANDPOINT — An arrest warrant issued for a Seattle man accused of causing a boat crash on Priest Lake has been quashed.

Judge Barbara Buchanan issued the warrant for Todd Frederick Stauber on Friday, after he failed to appear in Bonner County Magistrate Court to be arraigned on a charge of grossly negligent operation of a vessel.

But the warrant was immediately recalled after Stauber’s defense counsel filed a notice of appearance in the case, according to court documents.

Sandpoint attorney Bryce Powell said in a motion that the notice was not timely filed due to a medical-related staffing shortage in his office.

Another hearing date in the case is pending. Powell filed a written not guilty plea on Stauber’s behalf, court records show.

Stauber, 38, was charged with the misdemeanor after allegedly crashing his 18-foot Supreme ski boat into a 32-foot cabin cruiser after an Fourth of July fireworks display at Hill’s Resort. The ski boat crashed into the anchored boat amidships, penetrating as much as 5 feet into the cabin, according to a probable cause affidavit filed by the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office marine patrol.

Stauber told investigators he was traveling at about 10 miles an hour when the collision occurred, the affidavit said.

Three people aboard Stauber’s boat were injured, one seriously.

The affidavit did not specify if the people aboard the cabin cruiser, Mike and Shirley Henderson, were injured in the collision.

Sheriff’s officials said in the affidavit that Stauber violated no less than five provisions of the Idaho Safe Boating Act, including not having a proper lookout, driving too fast for conditions and failing to steer clear of another vessel.

Immediately after the collision, Stauber allegedly questioned Mike Henderson why his vessel’s anchor light was not illuminated. Henderson, the affidavit said, pointed out that the light was illuminating his face during their interaction.

Stauber then apologized and advised Henderson that he did not see the anchor light, the affidavit alleges.

Grossly negligent operation of a vessel is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $300 fine.

In exchange for a plea of guilt, the prosecution has agreed to recommend a $300 fine, restitution, a suspended 10-day jail sentence and a year of unsupervised probation, according to a pretrial settlement proposal. Stauber would also be granted a withheld judgment, which would void the conviction upon completion of his court-ordered obligations.

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