UPDATE: Man dies after crash on Lake Chickamauga - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Man dies after crash on Lake Chickamauga

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - UPDATE: One man is dead, another facing charges after a weekend boating incident.

Officials say 21-year-old William Coker was killed when the jet ski he was riding collided with another jet ski Saturday.

The crash happened around 7 p.m. near the Island Cove Marina on Chickamauga Lake. Coker was taken to a local hospital where he later died from his injuries.

Officials say the driver of the jet ski that caused the crash had been drinking.

"This is the first fatal accident of 2015 for Lake Chickamauga and we hope it's the only one we have for the rest of the year and years to come," said TWRA officer Joseph McSpadden.

Joseph Mcspadden was one of the first responding officers to the scene, where a weekend of fun turned to tragedy. Officials say the crash involved two friends who were riding on jet skies. They crashed into each other near Harrison Bay Patton Islands area. William Coker, 21 of Collierville was here visiting college friends. Coker suffered severe injuries to his head face and neck, friends and strangers tried to save him.

"There was a passerby... they had been out pulling a tube and saw the incident and saw the young man in the water," said Officer McSpadden. "They took him upon their vessel and brought him over here to Island Cove dock."

Authorities charged Logan James Nichelson, 21, with boating under the influence. Officials say he admitted to drinking before the jet ski crash. Nichelson and his passenger were uninjured. Authorities confirmed the two men were friends. Both were wearing life vests.

"We're sorry about your loss, praying for your family... It's hard to see folks having a good time out there and then one bad decision and one instance can chance a life forever," said Russ Steward, owner of neighboring Rusty's Kayaks and Paddle Boards.  "We're praying for you."

He knows all too well how dangerous the lake can be.

"You get into the water you panic... you only have a matter of minutes before drowning," he said.

Steward says life vests save lives, drinking and driving can ruin lives. TWRA officers will be out in full July Fourth weekend, expecting a big crowd. They have just one message for everyone planning to be out enjoying Tennessee lakes: Be alert, be safe.

"Don't be out there impaired, you're only going to ruin it for others or maybe ruin your life forever," Steward said.

TWRA officials say additional charges could be filed against Nichelson, pending a crash investigation. It's unclear exactly how much he had to drink or how the two jet skies collided. Nichelson is free on a $2,000 bond. TWRA is reminding everyone on the water, if you see any one at risk or putting others at risk, don't hesitate to immediately call police. 




UPDATE: The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency tell Channel 3 that the man whose personal watercraft was struck by another Saturday has died from injuries from the crash.

William Coker, 21, was in critical condition when he succumbed to his injuries that were sustained in jet ski crash between involved 2 jet skis near the the Harrison Bay/Patton Island area on Chickamauga Lake. 

Coker is from Collierville, TN, and was reportedly was visiting friends.

Logan Nichelson, 21, has been charged with Boating Under the Influence. 


PREVIOUS STORY: One person is recovering at the hospital after an accident Saturday on Lake Chickamauga.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said it involved two personal watercrafts near Island Cove Marina.

The TWRA is handling the investigation and told Channel 3 the man was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

The investigation is ongoing. 
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