Man acquitted in amputation by boat propellor incident - Metro US

Man acquitted in amputation by boat propellor incident

Benjamin Urbelis's boat, the Naut Guilty, photographed in Charlestown 2015.
Benjamin Urbelis's boat, the Naut Guilty, photographed in Charlestown 2015. Photo: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

A Boston man has been acquitted of charges related to a 2015 boating incident in which a woman had her arm severed by a boat propellor.

In May 2015, Benjamin Urbelis, then 33, was charged with operating a boat under the influence of alcohol after his vessel, named “Naut Guilty,” reported a distress call when a 19-year-old woman went into the water and lost her arm. 

The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office said Wednesday that a judge found Urbelis not guilty of negligent operation of a vessel and operating a vessel under the inluence.

Urbelis pleaded guilty to furnishing alcohol to minors. The judge continued the case without a finding for one year and ordered Urbelis to attend 10 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in that time. 

Urbelis, 35, is an attorney from Charlestown and captain of the Naut Guilty, but was not driving the boat at the time of the incident. His former intern, Alexander Williams, 26, was operating the vessel, officials said.

Williams entered a guilty plea in April to charges of negligently operating a boat, furnishing alcohol to minors and tampering with evidence. But the judge did not find Williams guilty, again continuing the case without a finding. The charges will be dropped if Williams completes a two-year probation, completes a drug and alcohol awareness program and performs 200 hours of community service, according to the DA’s office. 

Officials say that Williams was operating the boat while a group of 14 people, some of them underage women, drank and partied on the Boston Harbor on May 30, 2015. 

Nicole Berthiaume, then 19, reportedly jumped into the water to pick up a football, according to the Boston Herald. Williams put the boat into reverse, which pulled Berthiaume under and amputated her right arm with the boat’s propeller. 

Williams had been charged with tampering with evidence for reportedly erasing text messages on his cell phone before handing it over to police at the scene. 

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