Plea agreement reached in Conneaut Lake boating accident case | News
A plea deal was reached Friday in the Crawford County Court of Common Pleas in connection with a boating accident on Lake Conneaut that caused $200,000 in damages last year.
Two of the four summary violation convictions were appealed in county court by Mario DeBlasio.
At a hearing on Dec. 9, 2021, DeBlasio, 56, of 235 Lake Park Drive, was found guilty of careless operation of a watercraft, speeding and two counts of violating general traffic rules. navigation before Magistrate District Judge Rita Marwood. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission filed all four counts against DeBlasio for a July 26, 2021 incident on Lake Conneaut in which DeBlasio’s large pontoon boat crashed into a private dock along with two moored boats.
Testimony at the December hearing revealed total damages were estimated to be between $214,000 and $237,000.
Marwood ordered DeBlasio to pay a total of $646 in fines and costs — $250 for careless operation of a watercraft, $75 each for speed restrictions and two violations of general boating regulations, plus $171 in court costs. Violations of general boating regulations were for not having a required disposable safety device on board and for operating at a speed greater than “no wake” within 100 feet of a dock.
However, DeBlasio, who is a member of Conneaut Lake Borough Council, appealed two of the trial court convictions in County Court.
DeBlasio appealed the speed limit conviction and operating at a speed greater than “no wake” within 100 feet of a dock.
At the start of Friday’s appeal hearing, Ed Hatheway, DeBlasio’s defense attorney, and Andrew Natalo, an assistant Crawford County prosecutor, told Judge Francis Schultz that a plea agreement had been reached. concluded.
DeBlasio agreed to withdraw his appeal of the speed limit conviction and let that conviction stand, while in exchange the DA’s office would then dismiss the charge of operating at a speed greater than “no wake” at less than 100 feet from a dock, the two attorneys said. .
With the dismissal of the “no wake up” speed count under the settlement, DeBlasio will not owe a $75 fine and $40.25 in court costs for that count.
After the hearing, Hatheway declined to comment on his client’s behalf. Natalo called the deal a “fair resolution in the circumstances of the case.”