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Cautionary Tale IV

This is closely based on a tragic accident that happened on the Pamlico River last fall. All the details have not been confirmed, and some are based on rumor and speculation, but the core circumstances are documented and reported in the local media and in the Medical Examiner's report. Anyone wishing to find these sources should be able to easily do so. Take this account as fiction, but understand the truth.

A middle-aged couple living in a town on the Pamlico River decided to take their boat to Washington one evening and enjoy dinner with family and friends. Around 10:30 pm, the captain pleasantly sloshed, they boarded their big Fountain center-console with triple 300hp engines for the trip home. An acquaintance, heading back to the same town in his Camaro, suggested that they meet for a nightcap at a waterfront bar back home. To make things interesting, he suggested a little wager on who arrived first.

The skipper knew the river well, and before even passing the railroad bridge had the boat up on plane, doing 60 - maybe 70 mph. Down the river they flew, and soon the time came to turn in to the narrow channel that marked the entrance to the otherwise broad, deep and long creek that led home. He'd made that turn many a time before, no need to even slow down. Except it was the wrong creek.

According to the Medical Examiner's report, the boat hit a jetty at a high rate of speed, went 15-20 feet in the air, and flew 100 feet through the marsh and woods, leaving a massive debris field. The husband was thrown from the boat and killed, the wife's lifeless body was found in the wreckage of the boat.

Text by Paul Clayton.

Copyright © 2024 Paul M. Clayton