San Diego

Man Sentenced in Boating Death of Carlsbad Girl on Family Vacation

The charges stemmed from the death last July of Charlotte McCue of Carlsbad.

A New York man was sentenced for a fatal boat crash on an upstate lake that claimed the life of a Carlsbad girl while she visited relatives last summer.

Alexander West, 25, was convicted last month of manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, boating while impaired by alcohol and leaving the scene of a crash.

Prosecutors said he had spent July 25 partying at Lake George's annual Log Bay Day party and was headed home that night when his motor boat slammed into a boat carrying the McCue family of Carlsbad, California.

Charlotte McCue, 8, was killed and her mother suffered serious injuries.

West was sentenced to five to 15 years in prison on Monday.

Authorities said West's 21-foot fiberglass boat struck Knarr's 28-foot Gar Wood in the right rear and flew over the antique wooden boat. Charlotte, sleeping with her head on her mother's lap, was killed instantly when the airborne boat's propeller struck her. Courtney McCue suffered serious injuries.

West fled the scene and docked at a resort instead of at his own dock, according to the authorities. An off-duty police officer from western New York who was vacationing there testified that he saw the boat being docked and heard the people on board talk about keeping quiet about something. He called police, who had been looking for a boat involved in an accident reported just minutes earlier.

Police said West hid out at a friend's house, and didn't show up at the sheriff's office until about 12 hours after the crash. Neither he nor the three other people on his boat had reported the accident.

Cheryl Coleman, West's attorney, said in her summation that the prosecution lacked evidence that West was intoxicated. She portrayed West as a "dumb kid" who panicked after the crash, which she called an "unspeakable tragedy" but not a crime.

District Attorney Kate Hogan said West would have been able to see the other boat if he hadn't been impaired by drugs and alcohol.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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