Nothing can bring Jake and Griffin Prince back from the boat crash that took their lives on June 18, 2012.
The man who was allegedly driving the boat that caused the wreck has been charged with more than a dozen felony counts for causing their deaths.
A Hall County grand jury handed down the charges against Paul J. Bennett, 44, of Cumming, GA. His boat ran into a pontoon boat carrying the Prince brothers and their family.
The counts against Bennett are reported to include eight counts of homicide by vessel in the first degree, although only two lives were lost. Other charges are two counts of boating under the influence of alcohol, two counts of reckless operation of a vessel, and violation of duty to render assistance.
Paul Bennett is the owner of Paul Bennett Studios, a hair salon in Johns Creek.
Although innocent until proven guilty, should Mr. Bennett be found guilty of the charges, we hope his punishment will deter others from drinking while operating water craft on Lake Lanier.
So, if Mr. Bennett is found not guilty, are you going to issue an apology for intimating that he was guilty and for mentioning his place of business as if it were some how connected to this tragic accident on the lake? If you look at the damage to the boats, and if you’re familiar with boating right of way rules and navigation lights, which I doubt you are based on your willingness to prematurely express an opinion that the punishment should be severe enough to act as a deterrent rather than to be commensurate with the offenses he may found guilty of, the damage speaks volumes and there are a lot of people in the media who are going to be upset with the results of a trial. Look at the damage, listen to the 911 call, listen to the witness that was interviewed on TV. My heart goes out to the Prince family, but the media needs to report only on the facts relevant to the tragic accident and not convict and demonize Mr. Bennett in public.
BTW, check you tags. I’m pretty sure you meant homicide by vessel and not homidide by vessel.
Thanks for catching the tag typo.
In my opinion, we were most fair toward Mr. Bennett:
* “The man who was allegedly driving the boat that caused the wreck has been charged with more than a dozen felony counts for causing their deaths.”
* “Although innocent until proven guilty, should Mr. Bennett be found guilty of the charges, we hope his punishment will deter others from drinking while operating water craft on Lake Lanier.”
Mr. Bennett was arrested, indicted by a grand jury and charged with 13 felony crimes in the incident. In fairness to other people who might have the same name, we believe it is wise to identify individuals in our stories as clearly as possible; that is why we use the reference to his employment.
We referred to Mr. Bennett as the alleged driver and clearly stated that he is innocent until proven guilty. That, sir, is the opposite of demonizing and/or convicting him in public.
We will report the final outcome of this case, whether Mr. Bennett is found guilty or innocent of the various charges filed against him.
We continue to hope that people will follow this story and choose not to drink and drive boats, truck or cars. Lake Lanier needs all the deterence to boating under the influence we can muster.
We have fairly reported this story without prejudice or jumping to conclusions. We will continue to do so.
Jumping to Conclusions, Well your user name sure does fit you!! YOU have a hell of a nerve, to say this author is intimating or insinuating, When that’s ALL YOU have done. According to your comments, I’m NOT even sure we read the same article. The damages to the boats, and the rules of navigation DO NOT speak volumes, and there were NO eyewitness who actually WITNESSED THE CRASH, only the location. And to say “there are a lot of people in the media who are going to be upset with the results of a trial.” Explain to me how THAT is somehow connected to this tragedy. Besides, Who cares what the media thinks, IT IS the family of these young boys, that “most people” are concerned about NOT the media OR Mr. Bennett,. Also the author did NOT state; “that the punishment should be severe enough to act as a deterrent” rather it clearly states,
Although innocent until proven guilty, SHOULD Mr. Bennett be found guilty of the charges, we hope his punishment will deter others. The media IS NOT convicting or demonizing Mr. Bennett publicly, he brought that on HIMSELF, with HIS ACTIONS!!!!. You want the FACTS relevant to this accident. WELL here they are… TWO young, innocent boys LOST THEIR LIVES. A family is heart broken and well NEVER be the same. Mr. Bennett was OPERATING his boat UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL. He left the scene of the accident, and did NOT help. YEP that what innocent people do when their in an accident OR to DRUNK to realize they hit something!! Shame on you for, for not recognizing the family FIRST!! Well you apologize to them IF Bennett is found guilty!!!! OH, and BTW, homicide is spelled correctly!!!!
I would have to agree with the first comments. I have been following this case. There WAS a witness who was there, and who actually stated that Mr. Bennett stayed on the scene for about 40 minutes or so. Mr. Bennett was also knocked in to the water and was heard to be moaning on the floor of his boat. How do we know that he was not in shock at the time? How do we know whether it was HE or the female on the boat with him that eventually, after waiting there for an extended time, finally went back to the boat launch. The person with him may have thought that he was injured as well, and may have thought that help was never going to arrive. Maybe she was trying to get back to land to get some help…who knows the real story? NO ONE, yet… Nothing can bring these boys back, and nothing can repair the immense and unspeakable pain that the family of these families have, and will continue to endure for the rest of their lives. There is not ONE person on this planet that does not hurt for that family, but remember, this man also has a child around the same age. I am sure that he is having difficulty living with himself over this immense tragedy. Almost everyone I have ever known has at one time or another had one or two beers while out on the lake. We do not know yet the level of his alcohol level. It may have been so low that his judgement was not really impaired at all. It may be that this was nothing more than a pure accident. Accidents happen. On the other hand, if he truley was inibriated, he DOES deserve the punishment that will be dealt. Without a doubt. I am in no way, sticking up for this man, let me make that clear, but I wish that everyone would wait for the cold hard facts to be revealed before convicting someone based on media sensationalism. Let God, a judge and jury decide.