Boat operator charged with OUI after accident


HADDAM, Conn. (AP) – A Meriden man was arrested Sunday after a boat he was operating hit a sandbar and overturned in the Connecticut River, sending all six people aboard into the water. No one appeared to be seriously injured, state authorities said.

Nicholas Blaise, 27, was charged with operating a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the state Department of Environmental Protection said.

Blaise was operating the 25-foot Checkmater Convincer with five passengers aboard when it hit the sandbar early Sunday morning. East Haddam firefighters were the first to reach the scene at about 2:30 a.m., and were later joined by state police and DEP officers.

No further information was available.

The accident came exactly a week after a runaway powerboat collided with a sailboat on the Connecticut River in Old Saybrook.

Susan Brandes, 53, of South Windsor, was killed and three others on the sailboat were hospitalized.

The driver of the powerboat, Gregory Siege, 44, of Madison, was also charged with operating of boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Authorities say Siege’s boat was abandoned when it hit the sailboat.