UPDATE: Felony charges for fire captain from boat crash go to grand jury

By Gene Petriello - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

LANCASTER, VA (WWBT) – A Richmond fire captain is found guilty of two charges in court Wednesday, following that deadly boating accident this summer on the Rappahannock River.

That accident happened on July 5 when investigators say a boat driven by Richmond Fire Captain Steve Nixon slammed into a channel marker in the river. Warrants say Nixon's blood alcohol level was 0.14 - nearly double the legal limit. Henrico school teacher Amanda Brady died. Nine others, including several kids, were seriously injured in the crash.

Nixon was convicted of two misdemeanors: drunk boating and reckless boating while intoxicated. But his felony charges now go to a grand jury.

On Thursday, the Circuit Court said the defense attorney's for Nixon have appealed the two misdemeanor verdicts that were brought against him yesterday. Nixon was given two consecutive six month sentences in jail along with two consecutive 12 month sentences where he is not allowed to drive a boat.

All of the jail time was suspended. He was fined $2,500, with all by $500 suspended for the reckless boating charge. He also was ordered probation of three years of good behavior for each charge. And, Nixon was must also enroll in an alcohol class.

Nixon walked into court just the way he sat in court Wednesday; quiet, staring into the eyes of his family, listening to their testimony.

His stepdaughter said Nixon took his hands off the wheel just before slamming into a channel marker on the Rappahannock River. A channel marker, blinking, that investigators say should have been easily seen the night of the crash.

According to testimony, investigators found about 27 beer cans on the boat after that accident. There were also coolers in the boat, and an empty 12 ounce can of Miller Lite found near the driver's seat. The seat Nixon was said to be sitting in.

We also learned the four kids on the boat were near the front of the boat along with Amanda Brady. One of those kids, Nixon's 11-year-old son, was severely injured in the crash. One of the rescuers on stand began to tear up talking about the condition he found the child in, after suffering a brain injury. That child has recovered.

Nixon's brother, who was engaged to Brady, said just before the accident he was looking at his cousin, laughing and then everything went black.

Now seven felonies including several counts of both drunk boating and child endangerment along with aggravated involuntary manslaughter -- all head to a grand jury next week. A trial date for Nixon could possibly happen in January.

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