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Boat driver gets jail time for West McDonald tubing accident

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news Perham, 56573

Perham Minnesota 222 2nd Avenue SE 56573

The drunk driver involved in a boating accident that seriously injured a tuber on West McDonald Lake on July 4, 2012 has been sentenced.

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Lucas Michael Buerkley, 21, of Fargo, N.D., appeared in Otter Tail County District Court on Dec. 23. He was sentenced to one year in jail, with 355 days stayed for two years. He will also pay a $300 fine and be on probation for two years.

The tuber injured in the accident, Nicholas Schmit, sustained multiple rib fractures, a partial scapular fracture and tissue damage to muscles on his back, according to court documents.

Buerkley was driving the boat with a blood alcohol level of .096, more than the legal limit of .08, when the accident occurred. Court records state that he was pulling Schmit on a tube behind the boat, and was circling Schmit, when the propeller of the boat motor swung out and struck the tuber.

West McDonald Lake is located northwest of Dent, south of Vergas. The incident occurred on the north side of the lake.

By Tom Hintgen

Otter Tail County Correspondent

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