Teen girl killed after going overboard, hitting boat propeller; driver charged

Published: Jul. 4, 2022 at 9:58 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 5, 2022 at 6:10 PM CDT
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LIVINGSTON PARISH, La. - What was meant to be a fun day on the water took a tragic turn, leaving a family in waves of grief.

According to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Madison Bradley, 17, of Slidell, was killed during a boating incident that occurred Monday, July 4 on the Blind River in Livingston Parish.

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

Mike and his wife, Leigh-Ann, are still trying to process what happened to their daughter, Madison.

“It’s just a tragic, tragic accident. I just can’t believe it that she was reckless and fell over. I mean, she should know better,” said Leigh-Ann.

Madison Bradley
Madison Bradley(Source: Friend)

According to LDWF, Bradley was a passenger on a pontoon boat with five other people when, around 5:30 p.m., she and a male passenger were thrown into the water.

Agents say Bradley hit the boat’s propeller and did not resurface.

Her body was later recovered from the Blind River around 8 p.m., said agents.

According to LDWF, the other person who went into the water was able to resurface after suffering minor injuries.

The driver of the boat, David Crowe, 33, of Denham Springs, was booked into the Livingston Parish Jail on charges of vehicular homicide, operating or driving a vessel while impaired (DWI), and reckless operation of a vessel.

“You have to be vigilant, obviously don’t drink and drive, but you have to be smart. I mean little things can turn tragic in a matter of seconds,” said LDWF Sgt. Randy Lanoux.

Madison’s parents say they wish Crowe was paying closer attention and not drinking.

“Like the driver, he should have been watching his speed and knowing that she is sitting on the edge with more awareness of what he was doing,” added Mike.

Madison’s parents say their daughter knew Crowe because he is her boyfriend’s older brother.

Crews search Blind River for a missing boater on July 4, 2022.
Crews search Blind River for a missing boater on July 4, 2022.(Livingston Parish Fire Protection District No. 9)

Passengers on the boat told agents that the boat had hit a wake from a passing boat when Bradley and the other person went into the water. The two were reportedly on the bow in front of the protective rail at the time, according to LWDF.

Agent Lanoux points out how dangerous it is for anyone to sit in front of the safety rail. He says it’s a violation they often look for and write up.

“When you get forward of that safety rail, if you hit anything, even if a boat is idling you can subsequently fall off, and you can not shut that motor downtime you will get run over,” added Lanoux.

Crowe was released from the Livingston Parish Detention Center on a $101,500 bond, according to the jail.

According to officials, the penalty for a conviction on vehicular homicide is a $2,000 to $15,000 fine and five to 30 years in prison. They added a DWI conviction brings a $300 to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail. They also said a reckless operation of a vessel conviction carries up to a $200 fine and 90 days in jail.

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