Governor McCrory signs Sheyenne's Law to crack down on drunk boating

UPDATE (3:08 p.m. 6/27/16): Governor McCrory was joined by elected officials and Sheyenne Marshall’s family Monday at Cox Mill High School as he signed legislation to crack down on drunk boating.

House Bill 958 was named in memory of Sheyenne Marshall, a Concord teen and rising senior at Cox Mill. Authorities say the boater, who hit and killed Marshall while she was kneeboarding on Lake Norman last year, had a blood alcohol content of .14.

“This bill cannot bring Sheyenne back to us, but it can help save others by sending a strong message that drunk driving in a boat is just as dangerous as in a car,” Governor McCrory said in a written statement, released on Monday. “With summer here and millions of people flocking to our state’s lakes and beaches, I want to remind everyone not to drink and drive.”

Officials said Sheyenne’s Law will strengthen penalties for causing death or serious injury by impaired boating from a misdemeanor to a felony.    

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission recorded 24 fatal boat accidents in 2015. Authorities say alcohol was involved in at least seven of those.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Governor McCrory will be in Concord to sign Sheynne's Law on Monday.

The bill was created after a tragic death on Lake Norman last summer.

If boat operators cause death or injury while driving under the influence it will soon be a felony, instead of a misdemeanor punishable of up to 17 years in prison.

17-year-old Sheyenne Marshall died over July 4th weekend last year after being hit by a pontoon boat while she was kneeboarding.

Sheyenne's Law will go into effect December 1.

Police say Keith Cerven was driving the boat drunk when he hit and killed Sheyenne. Cerven was charged with manslaughter and boating while intoxicated.

 

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