Cascia Hall Graduate One of Two Killed in Grand Lake Boat Crash
Posted by: Jennifer Cope, Assignment Editor - email
William Varner and Rachel Swetnam
Grand Lake -
Officials with the Grand River Dam Authority have identified two victims in a fatal boat crash on the lake Tuesday afternoon.
The two killed in the boating accident were identified as Rachel Nicole Swetnam and William Lewis Varner III. Both were passengers of the boat that collided with a docked boat, identified as a Cobalt Bowrider, in the Duck Creek area of the lake Tuesday afternoon.
Justin Alberty with the GRDA stated that Swetnam was from Grove, Oklahoma while Varner lived in Texarkana, Arkansas. Swetnam was a graduate of Cascia Hall.
Brian Edwards with the GRDA Police told KTUL on Tuesday the collision between the Bowrider and the houseboat as a "substantial violent impact."
Cascia Hall Headmaster Roger Carter said he remembers Swetnam as a "wonderful, kind young lady." He added that the news of her death "breaks our hearts."
Carter told KTUL that Swetnam transferred from Tennessee back in January 2009 and remembers her having the "sweetest drawl."
Two passengers, including the driver, were taken to Craig General Hospital. The hospital said they have since been released. The driver is from Tulsa.
In total, there were eight people on board the boat.
According to a release issued by the GRDA, Wednesday Afternoon, investigators say "there are indications that alcohol and speed are some of the contributing factors" in the crash.
The GRDA also said it is coming up on Boating Safety Awareness Week. According to Alberty, anyone with a valid driver's license may drive a boat. Younger individuals may go through a certification process to be able to drive them.
"They're [boaters] going back on the water after a long break," Alberty said. "It's time to familiarize yourself again with the water, with the boat, and there's a lot of boat traffic out there."
Look for more on this story later on-air on Tulsa's Channel 8 and on-line at KTUL.com.
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