Boater sentenced to suspended jail term for hitting woman on Wave Runner.

November 8, 2021

Boater sentenced to suspended jail term for hitting woman on Wave Runner.

HART — A 71-year-old Grand Haven man was sentenced in 78th District Court Nov. 1 to a 90-day suspended jail term in connection to a boating accident that injured a 53-year-old Hart woman riding a Wave Runner on Crystal Lake last August.

Mark Adalor Twa, of 902 Slayton Ave., was found guilty of reckless operation of a boat. A high-court misdemeanor of marine safety — negligent crippling/homicide was dismissed.

Julie Steffens was injured the evening of Aug. 3 when she was struck by a boat that Twa was driving. Steffens suffered from “significant trauma to the lower body,” said Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon. She was hospitalized for an extensive time period and continues her recovery at home.

Twa also was ordered by Judge H. Kevin Drake to pay $400 in fines and costs, and his his boating privileges were suspended for 90 days. Restitution is reserved and open in the case.

“At 7:45 p.m., the Oceana County Sheriff’s Office, Life EMS and Hart Area Fire Department were dispatched to Crystal Lake in Hart Township for a reported boating accident,” states a press release issued by Oceana County Sheriff Craig Mast shortly after the accident. “The caller to 911 told dispatchers that a boat had struck a Wave Runner.

“When Oceana County deputies arrived on scene, they found that the injured person — a 53-year-old female from Hart Township — was being brought into shore by a boat.

“The operator of the 18-foot Four Winns pleasure craft boat was a 70-year-old man (who has since turned 71) from Grand Haven. The Four Winns boat was towing a water skier and had a spotter on the boat. The Four Winns boat struck the operator of the Wave Runner who was swimming in the water and was holding onto the Wave Runner when struck. Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in this boating accident.

“Our waterways in Oceana County are a true treasure to our area, and we encourage everyone to enjoy them when they can. It is important for us to emphasize how important water safety is. Making sure that people are doing their specific jobs — driving the boat, being the spotter — when enjoying water sports is critical.”

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