2 connected to ’16 boating death charged

Two South Williamsport people were charged this week in connection with last summer’s fatal boat accident that claimed the life of 41-year-old Sean M. Lowmiller, who drowned after jumping into the Susquehanna River off a moving boat, according to court records.

Alicia Deitrick, 41, of 260 W. Mountain Ave., and Anthony Brian Snyder, 38, of 1145 Old Montgomery Pike Road, have both been charged with felony failure of the “duties for an operator involved in a boating accident” and reckless, negligent operation of a watercraft, a misdemeanor.

Lowmiller, of the city, was one of five passengers on Deitrick’s boat when he jumped in the river near the Linden access in Woodward Township on the morning Aug. 20, according to Jacob T. Bennett, a waterways conservation officer of the state Fish and Boat Commission, who filed the charges against Deitrick and Snyder.

Deitrick was operating the boat, a 1995 2052 Cuddy, when Lowmiller dove off and “perished sometime after entering the water,” Bennett wrote in a two-page affidavit.

While Deitrick had “physical control” of the boat, Snyder “assisted in operating the vessel,” the investigator said.

After hearing that someone had jumped off the boat, Deitrick began to turn around near the Nisbet bridge, Bennett said.

At one point, “the boat struck an object under the water, damaging the propeller,” and disabling the watercraft, Bennett said.

Passengers attempted to rescue Lowmiller by “entering the water,” but returned to the boat after the rescue failed, he said. Another boater in the area towed Deitrick and her passengers to shore.

“When the boat reached the shore, Deitrick and Snyder both fled the scene, scrambling over the bow of the vessel, up a densely wooded embankment and walking several miles away from the scene. The two did this before speaking with authorities, and they could not be located for a significant amount of time,” Bennett said in the affidavit.

Firefighters, paramedics and other emergency responders were dispatched to the boat ramp off Antlers Lane in Woodward Township about 9 a.m. to investigate a possible drowning. Lowmiller’s lifeless body was pulled from the river about 90 minutes later.

Through his extensive investigation, Bennett determined from interviews with those on the boat that “the occupants of the boat had been drinking, and some were extremely intoxicated to the point that it created an unreasonable risk to persons, property and life on board the vessel,” he wrote in the affidavit.

Deitrick and Snyder “had consumed alcohol” that morning, according to information Bennett said he obtained from those on the boat.

“Deitrick made a conscious, reckless and negligent decision to take people on a boat ride; a decision that ultimately resulted in the death of a passenger and the disabling of the vessel,” Bennett said.

Lycoming County Coroner Charles E. Kiessling Jr. reported that Lowmiller’s blood-alcohol content level was .37 and there was evidence of cocaine in his system, Bennett said.

Besides Snyder and Lowmiller, the other passengers on the boat were Eric Hubbel, Tammy Bradley and Harry Barton II, Bennett said.

Following their arraignment before District Judge Jerry C. Lepley, Deitrick and Snyder were released on $25,000 bail each.