Northshore family mourns the loss of 17-year-old girl killed in Fourth of July boating accident

Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 4:59 PM CDT
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SLIDELL, La. (WVUE) - A Denham Springs man could face 5 to 30 years in prison after a boating accident took the life of a 17-year-old girl from Slidell. Her family is mourning after an incident which officials say should serve as a warning.

A Northshore family is devastated after the tragic loss of their 17-year-old daughter in a Blind River boating accident. They say she was just starting out in life and had a world of potential.

“She had her whole life ahead of her and the world has really lost something,” said Mike Bradley of Slidell, the father of Madison Bradley.

Her parents say she grew up near the St. Tammany waterways and was familiar with life on the water.

“Yes, absolutely. We had a boat on the Rigolets and we would go boating all the time,” said her mother Leigh-Ann Bradley.

Her parents say she was excited about going out on a pontoon boat Monday on the Blind River.

“She went to bed early, got up early to go to Baton Rouge, to go on the boat for the Fourth of July,” said Mrs. Bradley.

Sometime around 5:40 p.m., her family says Madison and her boyfriend were riding on the bow of this pontoon boat in front of the protective rail when it hit the wake of a passing boat.

“As that pontoon boat was negotiating that wake, the male and the female fell into the water,” said Sgt. Jeff Lanoux, with La. Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries.

RELATED STORY: Slidell teen killed in July 4th boating accident on Blind River, vessel’s driver arrested

The male resurfaced with minor injuries but Madison went underneath the boat and was struck by the propeller. Her body was recovered 2 1/2 hours later.

“Absolutely everything, her spirit, her goofiness, her smile, her eyes. She loved life. She’s a family girl. She loved her family,” said Leigh-Ann.

Enforcement agents from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries arrested the operator of the pontoon boat, identified as 33-year-old David Crowe of Denham Springs.

“There was alcohol detected,” Lanoux said. “Where impairment is suspected, he was taken to another location, where we put a breathalyzer on the 33-year-old driver.”

Crowe was booked with vehicular homicide, DWI, and reckless operation. If charged and convicted of the offenses, he would face a minimum 5 to 30 years in state prison.

“We highly recommend you wear a life jacket and the operator be sober and not drinking, then take a boater education class,” said Lanoux.

The Bradley family says Madison was a recent graduate of Northshore High School and was considering a career in real estate.

“She had her whole life ahead of her. The world has really lost something,” said Mike Bradley.

Her parents urge other boat operators and passengers to respect the water, and avoid taking chances that could cost more lives.

David Crowe is now out of the Livingston Parish Jail on a $101,000 bond.

Just over a week ago, three people drowned near Blind River, where it empties into Lake Maurepas. None were wearing life jackets.

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