The Phoenix DUI Law Blog

Mesa Man Gets OUI Charges for Lake Havasu Death

Whether on asphalt or water, it's always a bad idea to drink and drive.

Back in March, Dwarkesh Prasannavathanam, a student at Cal State Long Beach, drowned while tubing on Lake Havasu, Today's News-Herald reports.

Now, Richard Allen Timmsen, the boat's driver, is facing one count of felony endangerment and two counts of misdemeanor operating under the influence for his role in the accident.

Prasannavathanam was at the lake with a friend when he met Timmsen who offered to take the two for a ride on his boot. There was only one life vest on the boat, yet five people onboard.

While boating on the lake, the group came across an inner tube. Prasannavathanam was so excited about tubing that he jumped into the water without putting the life vest on.

According to authorities, boaters must raise an orange flag while someone is in the water. Timmsen reportedly didn't have a flag.

Timmsen brought the boat up to 20 miles per hour while Prasannavathanam was dragged behind. At one point, Timmsen took a left turn, causing the tube to hit the wake. Prasannavathanam was thrown off.

While he eventually surfaced, Prasannavathanam "panicked in the water" and went under again. Timmsen jumped in to help, but couldn't find him. His body was found in April.

Even though Prasannavathanam seems predominately responsible for his own demise, Timmsen is facing charges for a number of offenses. That's because Timmsen was reportedly under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of the accident.

Under Arizona's boating OUI law, it's illegal for anyone in the state to operate a boat with drugs in their system or a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher. A first-time OUI conviction is punishable by a mandatory alcohol education course, up to six months in jail, and a fine of up to $2,100.

Subsequent OUI convictions will get you harsher penalties. For example, a second misdemeanor OUI conviction within a five-year period is punishable by at least 90 days in jail and a fine of $2,500.

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