OSHKOSH (NBC 26) — A man connected to the Oshkosh hit-and-run that involved two boats on the Fox River this summer now faces criminal charges in the case.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice said Jason Lindemann, 52, of Oshkosh, faces charges of recklessly endangering safety. Lindemann also faces more than a dozen charges of failing to render aid after a boating accident that caused an injury. Lindemann is accused of driving the powerboat that struck a paddlewheel cruise boat on the Fox River on July 9.
The criminal complaint lists 21 counts against Lindemann.
As alleged in the complaint, the DOJ said Lindemann was driving his powerboat on the Fox River when it collided with the “On the Loos” paddlewheel cruise boat just before 10 p.m. July 9. The cruise boat, carrying 44 people, suffered significant damage.
The DOJ cites the complaint, which alleges despite pleas from passengers on the damaged boat and nearby witnesses, Lindemann did not stop and render aid. After dropping injured passengers from his boat off nearby, the DOJ's news release said Lindemann drove his boat onto Lake Winnebago, where he and the boat remained until the next morning.
Law enforcement found Lindemann’s boat abandoned at a nearby marina the following day, the DOJ said.
According to the Wisconsin DOJ, the complaint alleges that multiple witnesses observed Lindemann consuming alcohol in the hours prior to the crash. Lindemann and his passengers are alleged to have been drinking at the Dockside Tavern immediately before the crash.
The DOJ said GPS data from Lindemann’s boat revealed that after leaving the Dockside, the boat traveled under the Oregon Street Bridge and then accelerated rapidly, reaching a top speed of 46 miles per hour as it traveled in the direction of the paddlewheel boat.
As the complaint alleges, the DOJ says the boat veered right just before impact, slowing to a speed of 31 miles per hour just before impact. Multiple passengers from the “On the Loos” boat were injured as a result of the collision, according to the DOJ, citing the complaint.
Due to social media rumors surrounding the incident, the Wisconsin Department of Justice took over the review of the case, which was initially investigated by the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office.
An initial appearance has not yet been scheduled in Winnebago County Circuit Court, according to the DOJ.
NBC 26 drove to the residence of Lindemann in an attempt to get comment, but we were told to leave once we arrived.
NBC 26 also contacted the company of the paddlewheel cruise boat and its attorney. Neither had comment at this time.