PARKERSBURG -An Ohio man who killed one person and injured three others in a boating accident entered a guilty plea Friday in Wood County Circuit Court.
Seth R. Cramer, 26, pleaded guilty to one felony count of operating a vehicle under the influence causing death.
In September 2009, Cramer of Rockbridge, Ohio, and three friends were cruising the Ohio River in Cramer's Fiberglas runabout boat when it crashed into an empty houseboat docked near Hockingport in Athens County. Gary Unger Jr. 24, was killed in the crash. Two of Cramer's friends, including a cousin, were injured, and Cramer suffered a broken femur.
Photo by Jody Murphy
Seth Cramer enters a plea of guilty to a felony count of operating a vehicle under the influence causing death Friday in Wood County Circuit Court.
Friday in front of Wood County Circuit Court Judge Robert Waters, Cramer pleaded to one count of driving under the influence causing death. He faces 1-10 years in prison and $1,000-$3,000 fine. There was no agreement on sentencing. Wood County Prosecutors and West Virginia Division of Natural Resources officials have agreed not to make any recommendations regarding sentencing.
During his plea hearing Cramer admitted to drinking while piloting the boat.
"I consumed eight or nine beers, maybe a few more, over three or four hours," Cramer told Waters.
Officials said Cramer's boat was traveling at very high speed when it careened into the houseboat. Cramer said he was watching other boats on the river and did not see the docked houseboat.
Waters told Cramer witnesses to the accident have been reluctant to cooperate with prosecutors.
"I understand some witnesses are friendly to you and have not been cooperative," the judge said.
Waters set Cramer's sentencing hearing for Dec. 20. He remains free on bond.