MAMMOTH SPRING -- Family and friends of a man killed in a boating accident on Bull Shoals Lake in Marion County, Ark., July 7 are wondering what is taking so long with the investigation into the accident.
Mammoth Spring resident Doug Rogers, 63, was killed in the accident. His son, Wesley Rogers, was driving the 2003 Champion fishing boat when it hit a 1993 Supra ski boat. The accident occurred about 11 p.m. near the Pontiac area of the lake. The driver of the ski boat, Keith Akridge, 43, of Arnold, Mo., disappeared in the lake following the accident and divers did not recover his body for five days.
Five passengers in the Akridge boat as well as the younger Rogers were all treated at an area hospital and were released.
According to Wesley Rogers, a 110-page accident report was released Sept. 7. "The report reached no conclusion about the cause of the accident," he said.
"I don't understand what's taking so long," Rogers added.
"This is a very complicated accident to work. That's one reason why it's taking so long," Arkansas Game and Fishing Commission Cpl. Joe Dale Purdom said.
Purdom said he is awaiting test results on additional evidence, including toxicology tests on both drivers that would show whether they had alcohol or other intoxicants in their system.
Rogers said investigators found beverage containers in the ski boat but none were found in the Roger's boat.
Rogers said the report stated that investigators had sent the running lights from both boats to the state Crime Lab for testing.
"I know my lights were on when we collided with the other boat. One of the passengers in the other boat even told investigators that our lights were on when the accident happened," Rogers said.
The report said three lights from the ski boat were tested but Crime Lab officials could not determine if those lights were on or off at the time of the collision.
Rogers said boaters near the accident scene told investigators they noticed an unlighted boat in the area.
"There were some statements that prior to the collision other boaters heard a boat go by them without their lights on. But as far as identifying, saying it was the ski boat, no one has been able to do that," Purdom said.
"I have been running that lake for 15 years or more and my dad fished that lake for 30 or 40 years," Rogers said. He and his father were participating in a fishing tournament the night of the accident.
Rogers is not happy with the fact that the investigation is taking so long.
"Our lights were on and their's was not. Passengers in the ski boat even admitted they had been drinking. I'm making payments and insurance payments on a totaled boat and its getting old," he said.