NewsLocal News


Day 4: Testimony continues in Fox River boat crash trial

Jason Lindemann trial
Jason Lindemann 8-22-23
Posted at 11:05 AM, Jun 13, 2024

Testimony continues on the fourth day of the trial of Jason Lindemann.

Lindemann is charged with more than a dozen counts, including two felony charges of second-degree recklessly endangering safety.

Prosecutors claim he crashed his power boat into a paddle wheel boat on the Fox River in Oshkosh in July 2022, and then left the scene.

His defense has said the crash was an accident.


11:00 a.m. update

The state calls Bradley Johnson of Oshkosh to the stand. Johnson was on the Fox River on the date in question, July 10.

Johnson stated he heard the distress call from the On the Loos paddle boat and saw Lindemann's boat, the 2020 Nortek 450 drive away from the scene, toward the rail bridge, and recalled yelling at the driver, "Do the right thing. Do the right thing," as the boat's driver was leaving the scene of the crash.

To which, Johnson said there was no reply from the driver, whom he believed was Jason Lindemann.

The witness was cross-examined by the defense, confirming this statement to the State.

Johnson also said he witnessed Jason Lindemann earlier in the day at the Stretches sandbar in Lake Winnebago where Johnson and Lindemann spoke briefly about Lindemann's newly acquired boat.

He stated to the court that he did not see Lindemann drinking alcohol and at the time, appeared to be sober.

After Johnson was excused from the stand, the State called Royce Dahlin, a boater who docks at Pioneer Marina, where the defendant's boat was discovered the day after the crash.

Dahlin testified he witnessed the 2020 Nor-Tech 450 boat, he believed was being driven by Jason Lindemann who had met several times prior to the date in question.

Dahlin stated to the courtroom he observed Lindemann's boat at around 10:00 p.m. did not have any lights on his boat and said he shouted, "Hey, put your lights on!"

When Dahlin was cross-examined by the defense attorney, Dahlin repeated that Lindemann did not have his boat lights on at 10:00 p.m., leaving the scene of the crash near the rail bridge.

11:30 a.m. update

State called Deputy John Gende of the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office who was the patrol deputy on boat patrol the day after the crash.

When he arrived at Pioneer Marina he discovered the boat in question which was described as the boat scene leaving the crash the night before.

The boat was then taken in as evidence.

Evidence was presented to the courtroom, showing damage of Lindemann's boat, a 2020 Nor-Tech 450, a 45-foot vessel.

Deputy Gende confirmed that was the boat he took into evidence in July of 2022 and described the damage on the Nor-Tech shown
in multiple photos presented as evidence.

The photos showed extensive damage on the port side (left) on the front of the boat all the way to the back of the boat.

The court also presented photo evidence of the inside of the Nor-Tech, which showed a plastic bird and a six-pack of White Claw hard seltzer.

It was described to the courtroom the plastic bird matched the description of the plastic bird that is missing from the On The Loos paddleboat.

"They recognized the bird as being a decoration on another boat, the Loos, ” stated Gende.

Ret. Deputy Tim Burns of the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office took the stand to testify the Nor-Tech boat appeared to be abandoned at the Pioneer Marina with the set of keys left inside the boat. He also confirmed to the court that he was with the boat all day at the Marina after it was taken into evidence.

1:30 p.m. update

Inspector Ryan Schultz with the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office was called to the stand by the defense as an expert witness.

Inspector Schultz conducted a mechanical inspection of the Nor-Tech boat after the crash.

Inspector Schults testified there was extensive damage from the front of the boat to the back of the boat, including damage to three of the four engines on the back of the boat.

He also testified the boat was equipped with the necessary safety equipment and navigational tools such as GPS, marine radio, a flair camera, and navigation lights. All of which appeared to be in working order.

The second witness called to the stand after the court's lunch break was Deputy Johnathan Krissen of the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office.

Deputy Krissen was assigned to the crash investigation team. His team developed 3-D images of both boats. The images were shown to the courtroom.

2:30 p.m. update

A local boater, Patricia Balistreri took the stand as a witness to Jason Lindemann's behavior in the early evening of July 9th.

Balistreri testified she witnessed Lindemann drinking and appeared to be intoxicated between 6 and 7 p.m.

Balistreri testified she witnessed Jason Lindemann and several passengers drinking while the boat was anchored at Stretches sand bar. Stating they were playing the drinking game beer pong off a raft.

Balistreri testified she saw Jason Lindemann having difficulty getting back on to his boat.

Prosecution: You stated at one point you saw Lindemann having difficulty getting onto his boat.

Balistreri: Yes.

Prosecution: You said you saw someone fall off the boat. Who was that?

Balistreri: He did. He fell off the ladder.

Another witness at Stretches Sandbar testified in court Thursday. Tyler Nechodom of Little Chute stated he was boating with his wife and children, 60 yards away from Lindemann and his boat, the 2020 Nor-tech 450.

He stated Lindeman was "being obnoxious, a lot of yelling and screaming. We had seen a lot of drinking going on, loud music," he testified.

When the prosecution asked what he had witnessed Lindemann drinking at the time he said;

"It looked like a liquor bottle taking pulls out of."

Nechodom stated he and his family packed up their boat and left the area to avoid Lindemann's behavior.

"He was probably the most obnoxious person on the boat," Nechodom said.

6 more witnesses are expected to testify on Friday. The state is expected to rest its case on Monday.

*Stay with NBC 26 for further updates.


11:55 a.m. update

Jeff Loos, co-owner of the paddle wheel boat “On the Loos,” testified Wednesday morning.

Loos was captain of the paddle wheel boat the night of the crash.

Loos testified that on the night of the crash, at first he thought would the power boat was going to pass him along his side.

Loos testified that in the moments before the crash, he was not concerned until the power boat was coming right toward his boat.

Loos said that at the last moment, he tried to turned starboard (right), which is common practice for boaters when a crash is imminent with another boat.


11:10 a.m. update

A question raised by the defense is why a portion of surveillance video is not available from the paddle wheel boat’s on board surveillance system.

In a clip shown in court, the video clip’s on-screen clock skips in time.

A man who testified that he installed the surveillance cameras on “On the Loos” said the cameras’ recordings are motion-activated, and motion needs to be seen for video to record. (If there is no motion, the cameras will not record.)

Before the skip in time, the clip’s timer approximately corresponds to the time of day shown on a different camera angle clip, which the defense said shows the power boat in question pulling up alongside the paddle wheel boat after the crash. Some of the charges against the defendant allege he did not stop after the incident.

In court, there was motion on the screen before the timer skips, but the man who installed the cameras testified that certain portions of the screen were previously selected to scan for motion, and only motion in those portions would trigger recordings - for example, the portion of a screen routinely showing wave action could be de-selected, to not trigger the recordings.

Prosecution asked the witness whether he edited the video, and he said no, and the computer hard drive would not allow for that sort of editing.

8:50 a.m. update

The prosecution’s first witness of the day is an Oshkosh woman who is describing the night in question as a passenger on the paddle wheel boat "On the Loos," what happened in the crash and its immediate aftermath.

“It was chaos everywhere,” the woman testified.

“I had glass in my hands,” she added.