Man arraigned on charges for sailboat collision

SANDPOINT — A Sandpoint man was arraigned Friday on nearly a half-dozen offenses stemming from a collision with a sailboat moored in Lake Pend Oreille’s Ellisport Bay last summer.

Jonathan Richard Beckley is charged with grossly negligent operation of a vessel, child endangerment and three violations of Idaho’s Safe Boating Act.

Not guilty pleas were entered on his behalf and a public defender was appointed to represent him, court documents indicate.

A jury trial date is pending in Bonner County Magistrate Court.

Beckley, 36, is accused of crashing a 1978 Thompson Cuddy cabin powerboat into the sailboat at about 10:30 p.m. on Aug. 12. The boat was moored about 120 feet from shore.

Both boats were heavily damaged and Beckley and a female passenger were treated at the scene for injuries. The passenger subsequently told investigators that her tailbone was fractured in two places during the collision.

A second passenger in the vessel Beckley was driving, a 4-year-old boy, was uninjured in the crash, according to a probable cause affidavit filed by a marine deputy.

Witnesses at the scene reported that Beckley stated he was driving “full bore” and as fast as 30 miles an hour within the no-wake zone that extends 200 feet from shore.

The female passenger reportedly told investigators Beckley was driving so fast that she and the 4-year-old took refuge in the boat’s cabin.

Beckley was also arraigned on a separate negligent operations charge for allegedly driving recklessly in a no-wake zone and hitting a marker buoy at the north end of Warren Island on July 15. A homeowner on the island recognized Beckley because they were involved in a prior civil dispute, according to court documents.

A pretrial settlement agreement in that case proposes reducing the negligent operations offense from a misdemeanor to an infraction in exchange for a plea, court records show.

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