Indiana DNR officer called a hero after stopping out-of-control boat

DNR Officer Jake Carlile // Photo provided

Conservation officers are investigating a boating accident that launched 10 people into the water. But what happened next is even more dramatic.

Officers say the boat kept turning circles at about 30 miles per hour – without a driver.

An Indiana conservation officer helped save the day.

Officer Jake Carlile jumped from a moving personal watercraft onto the moving boat.

The initial accident caused a lot of injuries, and Carlile says he was trying to prevent more.

He says he did what any other officer would do.

"For some reason the boat made a very sharp turn and it threw everybody out of the boat,” said Officer James Price, Indiana Department of Natural Resources spokesman.

Officers say 20-year-old Dominique Effinger was driving that boat and she was drinking. She was arrested for boating while intoxicated causing injury and being a minor in possession of alcohol.

Her 9 passengers suffered serious injuries, including partial amputation and skull fractures. But by the time Officer Carlile arrived, he was more concerned about the boat itself.

“The boat was doing a self-circling motion near boats, near docks and near other boaters," Carlile said.

"It would be similar to having a car going 30 miles an hour without anybody in it in the parking lot of a department store or shopping mall,” said Price.

Luckily Carlile had a personal floatation device attached to a rope.

"We threw it across the path of the boat and got it entangled, to try and slow it down,” said carlile.

Carlile says the rope tied up the propeller, but the boat ended up hitting a dock, changing direction and colliding with his own patrol boat.

Again, his quick thinking saved the day.

"I was able to jump onto a passerby's Jetski to board the boat and shut it down before it had any other additional accidents”

All while both vehicles were still moving.

"He was able to do it without hesitation, form a plan of the safest way to take care of the situation and implement that plan just in a matter of seconds," said Price.

Carlile says he's not a hero.

"It's always a snap decision on whether it's worth the reward. It's kind of a risk-reward thing," Carlile said.

Officer Price says it wasn't just law enforcement and EMS saving the day this weekend. He says quite a few boaters helped out and even offered use of their equipment.

Price says it's always awesome to see people come together in an emergency.

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