Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Brosnahan Press conference set today - Authorities focus on boat for now

Officials search for clues on boat No charges filed yet in hit-and-run STEVE YOUNG syoung@argusleader.com Published: 08/23/05 Iowa investigators examining a boat seized late last week at West Lake Okoboji spent Monday combing it for evidence that could tie it to a deadly hit-and-run accident. Kevin Baskins, spokesman for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said the seized boat was being searched in the Great Lakes region around Spirit Lake, though he would not disclose its exact location. "Our investigators call it a kind of forensic investigation," Baskins said Monday. "They're looking for any evidence, any damage, that connects the boat we seized with the other boat involved in the incident. We hope we have more news to release about it later this week." Baskins said the boat was found late Friday on a boat lift on the lake in northern Iowa. He declined to say exactly where it was found or how it was found, though he did indicate that investigators know to whom it belongs. "We know who owns it, but it doesn't mean that is who was operating it," he said. "We're still looking into that." No charges had been filed Monday, and Baskins wouldn't discuss potential suspects. The boating accident occurred around 2 a.m. Aug. 12 near the Manhattan Beach resort on West Lake Okoboji. One boat rammed another, vaulting over it and disappearing into the darkness. Michael Brosnahan, 51, of Perry, Iowa, was killed. His wife, Jill, 50, suffered broken ribs, a broken scapula and cuts. She was released Thursday from Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls. Michael Brosnahan's funeral was Monday. His burial is today. Dickinson County Sheriff Greg Baloun said the investigation shows that the Brosnahans were struck by the bottom of the other boat but not by its outdrive. The boat in which the Brosnahans were riding was a 22-foot runabout that was traveling about 15 mph when it was struck. It was operated by the victim's brother, William J. Brosnahan of Des Moines. His wife, Elizabeth Ann, 43; the craft's owner, William Rizk, 37, of Dakota Dunes, S.D.; and Rizk's wife, Pamela Jo, 34, also were aboard. They were not hurt. While investigators continue to receive tips, Baskins said they are concentrating mainly on the boat seized Friday. "We've spent a great deal of time examining it, and there is still a lot to examine," he said. "We need to make sure that it is in fact the boat we are looking for, in terms of being involved in the collision. Then we need to be able to determine who was operating the boat." Witnesses had described the hit-and-run boat as a white, 22-foot runabout with two red stripes about 6 inches wide and a foot apart. Investigators said the boat seized Friday was larger than 22 feet and had one black stripe. Still, it generally matches the description of the one officials were looking for, Baskins said. It had damage, though he said he wouldn't describe it until the investigation is done. Reach Steve Young at 331-2306. E-mail this article Print this article Subscribe to the Newspaper

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