Investigators release names of couple killed in boating accident

WHITE STONE, VA (WWBT) - The VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has released the names of the couple that died in a boating accident on the Rappahannock River Friday night.

Investigators say 46-year-old Robert A. Taylor Jr. and 37-year-old Catherine S. Williams were killed when their boat crashed into a wall at the Windmill Point Marina while trying to come back into the harbor.

The boat slammed into a wall in the harbor at around 40 miles an hour. Taylor and Williams died on scene shortly after emergency crews arrived.

Investigators are now trying to figure out why this boat was going so fast through such a narrow channel.

Dave Wadell was one of the first people on scene Friday night and knows these waters well after 12 years of boating. He says people on shore saw the boat headed into the harbor, coming in way too fast.

"I couldn't imagine how it could happen or why someone would come in that fast," Wadell said.  "Really, I couldn't imagine being here that long, that's not something you'd do. Nobody would know why. Why would you do that? Nobody was chasing them. Who knows."

The boat was involved in another crash before it slammed into the wall.

Investigators say they received a call from a man on the boat while it was still out in the water, saying he had an injured woman on his boat after he crashed into something in the middle of the Rappahannock River. Soon the boat was barreling back to Windmill Point.

"It was a sad sight down there," he said.  "They were running, as everyone says and thinks, wide open when they came in and that boat probably runs 45 miles an hour at least. You hit something that doesn't move at that speed, it's a tough situation."

All day boaters passed by the wreckage, some taking pictures as they floated by. Rich DiNiro says the wreckage is a sobering dose of reality.

"It's very morbid seeing everything this morning," he said.  "It just shows the dangers that can happen on the water."

It could be several hours before the wreckage is removed from the scene. Police say they'll need to bring in a crane to take the boat out of the water.

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