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Boater arrested in Palm Beach yacht incident was charged with BUI in Brevard County last month

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Posted at 9:55 AM, Sep 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-10 18:03:31-04

Records show that a man charged with boating under the influence after stranding a 72-foot yacht on Palm Beach Wednesday was arrested on similar charges only a few weeks ago.

Thomas Henry Baker, 63, of Belle Isle, Fla., admitted that he had been drinking Long Island Ice Teas before grounding the vessel.

 

Arrest records from Brevard County, show that Baker was charged with BUI on the evening of Aug. 14 after an incident in Port Canaveral.

Baker was taken into custody by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and released the next day after posting a $1,000 bond.

And records also show Baker has gotten behind the wheel of a car with alcohol in his system.

Just two years ago, records show he blew .16, twice the allowable blood alcohol content, following a 2014 fender bender in Orange County.

Baker was not charged with driving under the influence but with one count of reckless driving to which he pleaded no contest. Adjudication was withheld.

A 2014 investigation by WPTV found that it is not uncommon that people who are charged with boating under the influence have prior instances of driving under the influence.

The 2014 investigation looked at a five year period of fatal boating accidents where it was determined that alcohol played a role.

We found that of the of the 63 boat operators for whom we were able to request their driving record, 19, or 30% had one or more prior DUI convictions 4 of them had had their license revoked at the time they were involved in the fatal boating accident.

Under the current law there is nothing that prevents people, who have lost their privilege to drive a car from operating a boat.

Following the investigation Florida State Representative Gayle Harrell proposed “boating under the influence" convictions be added to people's driving records, but her proposal died in committee.

Read more about the Contact 5 investigation on Boating and Driving Under the Influence:

http://www.wptv.com/news/local-news/investigations/boaters-arrested-for-bui-often-have-drinking-pasts-contact-5-investigators-find

http://www.wptv.com/news/local-news/investigations/deadly-consequences-the-story-behind-the-story
 

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