Saratoga County

Malta man charged with BWI in case linked to July 4 Saratoga Lake death, court records show

Saratoga County Sheriff's officials on Saratoga Lake July 5, the day after the death.
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Saratoga County Sheriff's officials on Saratoga Lake July 5, the day after the death.

MALTA – A Malta man has been charged with boating while intoxicated in a case linked to a July 4 death of a Ballston Spa resident on Saratoga Lake, court records show.

The overall investigation into the death, however, remained ongoing and further charges could come if the investigation warrants it, authorities and records indicated.

Charged with boating while intoxicated, a misdemeanor, is Blake A. Heflin, 19, of Stony Point Road, Malta, according to the charging document in Malta Town Court.

The paperwork, which arrived in Malta court Thursday, did not address the July 4 death of 20-year-old Ian Gerber directly, however, the Heflin paperwork indicates the Heflin BWI incident happened at 7 p.m. July 4 on Saratoga Lake and that the Heflin incident involved a fatality.

Gerber, of Century Drive in Ballston Spa, died the evening of July 4 after being struck by a boat, Saratoga County Sheriff’s officials have said. They have not described the death further but said it was under criminal investigation.

The department did not announce Heflin’s BWI charge. The Daily Gazette obtained the paperwork in the Heflin case Thursday.

Sheriff’s officials earlier indicated they did not plan to provide further updates “to protect the integrity of the investigation” until its conclusion.

Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo said Thursday the event remained under investigation and that officials were waiting on forensic evidence. Asked whether investigators believed Heflin was the operator of the boat that struck Gerber, Zurlo reiterated that it was still under investigation.

Heflin was formally charged in the BWI case on July 6 and appeared in Saratoga Springs City court last week. The paperwork then arrived in Malta Thursday, records show.

Heflin is represented in the BWI case by attorney Matthew Chauvin. With the overall investigation ongoing, Chauvin said it would be premature to indicate Heflin’s position on what happened.

Chauvin also said he could not discuss whether Gerber and his client knew each other. Ballston Spa school records, however, show that both were Ballston Spa graduates, Gerber in 2019, Heflin in 2020.

“The only thing he is charged with is boating while intoxicated,” Chauvin said of Heflin. “He maintains his innocence in regard to that charge.”

The supporting deposition in the Heflin BWI case records shows the water conditions as clear, traffic moderate and weather cloudy.

A deputy involved in the investigation smelled alcohol on Heflin and noted the condition of his eyes showed intoxication. Heflin also failed a gaze test, but passed the walk and turn and the one-leg stand.

Heflin allegedly admitted to drinking four or five hard seltzers and admitted to operating the vessel, the deposition indicates. He also appeared to indicate his last drink was at 1 p.m. that day.

Heflin refused to voluntarily submit to a chemical test, according to the allegations in court. When an investigator spoke to Heflin at the Manning Boat Launch, Heflin indicated to the investigator “I’m not doing this,” when asked to submit to the test, allegations in court show.

Investigators, however, sought and obtained a court order to draw Heflin’s blood for testing, the deposition shows.

Saratoga County prosecutors also filed paperwork in court essentially holding the case for potential grand jury action, something that indicates the underlying investigation remained ongoing.

Sheriff’s officials last week asked anyone with information pertinent to the investigation to contact Inv. Roger Zalucky at [email protected]countyny.gov or Inv. Matt Robinson at mrobinson at [email protected]

Categories: News, Saratoga County

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