OSHKOSH, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) today filed charges against Jason Lindemann, 52, of Oshkosh, for driving the powerboat that struck a paddlewheel cruise boat on the Fox River on July 9, 2022.
“Our boating laws and regulations help protect people’s safety,” said Attorney General Kaul. “Thank you to the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office, the DNR wardens, and the prosecutors who have been working on this case.”
As alleged in the complaint, the defendant was driving his powerboat on the Fox River when it collided with the “On the Loos” paddlewheel cruise boat just before 10:00 p.m. The cruise boat, carrying 44 people, suffered significant damage. As alleged in the complaint, 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, 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 on the morning of July 10, 2022.
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. 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 boat veered right just before impact, slowing to a speed of 31 miles per hour just before impact.
As alleged in the complaint, multiple passengers from the “On the Loos” boat were injured as a result of the collision.
As in any criminal proceeding, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office led this investigation, along with assistance from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The Criminal Litigation Unit of the Wisconsin DOJ Division of Legal Services is handing the prosecution and is unable to comment beyond what is contained in the complaint or stated in court, because this is an ongoing criminal prosecution.
An initial appearance has not yet been scheduled in Winnebago County Circuit Court.
No further details are available at this time.
View the press release and complaint here.