Edison Scott McKenzie was found guilty of a BUI crash that caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
NICEVILLE — A Freeport man has been found guilty of boating under the influence after he crashed his boat through a dock in Niceville last March, injuring himself and a woman on board and causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), on March 11, 2017, Edison Scott McKenzie, who was 49 at the time, was operating his 23-foot center console boat in Choctawhatchee Bay when he struck a dock.
A neighbor who was sitting on his porch heard the crash, according to an FWC report. He told investigators he ran over and saw the boat, which was stopped by a heavy garden hose that ran the length of the dock and got hung up on the center console.
The witness said he jumped aboard, trimmed the motor and backed it up to help get McKenzie and the woman off the boat. He said the vessel’s navigational lights were not turned on.
Other witnesses told investigators that McKenzie and the woman appeared to be injured; the woman was “in and out of consciousness” and appeared to be bleeding. EMS and firefighters arrived and began treating the woman, but McKenzie was being “loud, disruptive, and hindering the emergency responders who were treating the female who was injured,” the report said.
“I moved McKenzie to the other side of the driveway” to allow EMS workers to help the woman, an FWC investigator wrote in his report. “McKenzie’s statements, actions and emotions were very sporadic while he was sitting down. He kept asking about the female, he would start crying, and he would ask for someone to hold his hand.”
The woman was taken to Twin Cities Hospital. McKenzie then began to complain of chest pain and also was taken to the hospital.
He continued to be belligerent at the hospital and cursed the staff, the report said.
“McKenzie would refuse to answer questions unless he was told how the female was doing, basically holding the emergency room staff hostage to do their job,” the FWC report said. “When a nurse came, he asked her again how she was, (and) she advised him she could not tell him anything. He told her, ‘You can get the (expletive) out of here.’ ”
McKenzie and the woman eventually were treated and released. A blood sample collected from McKenzie showed his blood-alcohol content was 0.175, more than two times the legal limit.
Over the next several months investigators interviewed McKenzie, the woman and witnesses to the crash. In an interview with investigators, McKenzie said he and the woman had taken his boat from Freeport to Destin that day, where they attended a taco festival and drank alcohol.
They left Destin about 7:30 p.m. and were traveling to the north side of Choctawhatchee Bay when McKenzie drove his boat through the dock. The dock sustained $4,200 in damage and the boat sustained $32,000 in damage.
The FWC charged McKenzie last july with boating under the influence with property damage and cited him for failure to keep a proper lookout and traveling at an unsafe speed. The agency announced Tuesday that he had been found guilty and must pay a $1,000 fine and serve one year of probation.