COPY-Charges Pending in Memorial Day Boat Crash on the Hudson

A Memorial Day crash on the Hudson River leaves a boat battered and a woman badly injured.

It was supposed to be a day of fun this Memorial Day, but a group of 14 divided into two boats found trouble off the Catskill Point Monday afternoon. One boat wound up with a huge hole ripped in the front – and one woman, who had dangled her leg over the edge, was caught in the middle and rushed to the hospital.

NEWS10's John Craig has more on the charges pending, and new information from those on the boat.

Off Catskill Point, a smaller boat makes a pass next to a bigger one that looks close, but was not. The damage included a hole ripped in the front, where a woman had been sitting with her right leg caught between two boats.

“We just called 9-1-1, and that's when all the cops came out,” says Ashley Sapcoe.

Sapcoe was on the other boat with five others. They say they were circling around to guide the other boat – with eight on board – that had stalled out. Both boats were headed for the Germantown Boat Launch after three hours on the water.

“The initial reports is that one of the boats was having motor problems and another boat clipped the front of that boat,” says Sr. Investigator Scott Youngblood, with State Police in Catskill.

“There's a lot of boats, it's Memorial Day weekend, but accidents happen,” Dustin Hager says, who heard the crash. “But it seemed like there should have been room. I don't know how something like that could happen.”

The claim is that one of the bigger, faster boats left a huge wake that flopped the one boat that was guiding, into the one that was stranded.

“There were waves that threw his boat into ours, and it rocked – and an accident and what happened occurred,” says Melvin Forshaw, who was on the boat that was hit.

The driver of the stalled boat, Randy Lewis, hugged his father Walter after the ordeal. Meantime, his longtime girlfriend, Valerie Jamison, was rushed to shore ahead of them and airlifted to Albany Medical Center by State Police helicopter.

“It (Valerie's leg) was in the middle – it was stuck between the bars on the boat on the front of the boat” Suezen Bauder says, who was on the “guide” boat.

The driver of the “guide” boat is Flint Elmendorf. ENCON is charging him with reckless operation of a boat, and Lewis is charged with not having the proper number of distress flares on board. More charges are pending.

The status of Jamison is not known.

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