A 9-year-old California girl was killed and her mother seriously injured Monday night when two boats collided near Cramer Point, Warren County Sheriff Nathan H. York said.
York described the incident as a hit and run at a news conference Tuesday in Queensbury. The investigation is continuing.
York said one boat rode over the top of the other, and both boats then kept going separately to land. The incident was reported to authorities at 9:24 p.m.
York identified the dead child as Charlotte McCue of Carlsbad, California. Her mother, whose identity was not released, was taken to Glens Falls Hospital for treatment of serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
York said the family has relatives in the Lake George area, and was visiting.
The operator of the boat that struck the victim was identified as Alexander West, 24, of Lake George. He turned himself in to the Sheriff’s Office for questioning Tuesday morning and had not been charged as of late Tuesday afternoon.
York said criminal charges are possible, though he cautioned against drawing any quick conclusions until the investigation is complete. He indicated police are still investigating whether speed or alcohol played a role.
“When you have a 9-year-old little girl who comes to the lake to enjoy it and she doesn’t make it home, if there is any kind of criminal element in this case, people will be charged,” York said.
Leaving the scene of a fatal accident is one possible charge, he said.
The incident occurred on the west side of the lake about three miles north of Lake George village.
“I wouldn’t recommend anyone to drive a boat at night on Lake George,” York said.
York said seven people were in the victims’ boat, all members of the same family. The girl’s grandfather was driving the roughly 28-foot Chris Craft-type vessel. The girl’s father, two siblings, and grandmother were also aboard, York said.
“[The mother] was sitting right next to her daughter,” York said. “One boat went right over the other.”
Five people were in the boat operated by West, which the sheriff described as a 22-foot power boat whose occupants were local residents. All have been identified and are cooperating with the investigation, York said.
Nobody other than the girl and her mother was injured.
“We are interviewing a bunch of people at this time,” the sheriff said Tuesday morning. “We don’t know what everyone knew, because it was dark.”
The darkness may have been a factor in the incident, he said. It is possible, for instance, that West thought he hit a rock, York said.
He said police know where both boats had been and where they were headed, though he wouldn’t disclose that information.
The boat driven by West was left at the Tea Island Resort on Lake George after the crash, and West didn’t surrender until Tuesday morning.
The McCue boat went to shore at Cramer Point, where police and paramedics were notified.
Both boats sustained significant damage, though they remained operable.
Cramer Point is in the same area as the 2005 Ethan Allen disaster, in which a tour boat capsized, drowning 20 people.
The Sheriff’s Department has possession of both boats.
York asked anyone who saw the crash or the boats involved or has photographs of them to contact his department in Queensbury.
He said his department is investigating whether there is any connection with Log Bay Day, an annual event that was held Monday on the other side of the lake, near Shelving Rock Road in Fort Ann. It attracts hundreds of young people, and has historically involved drinking and raucous behavior.
This year, it resulted in dozens of arrests, mostly for minor charges.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office made 19 arrests, and had assistance from state Department of Environmental Conservation forest rangers and conservation police, and from state police.
Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, firstname.lastname@example.org or @gazettesteve on Twitter.