Grand jury indicts man in boating death of a woman, child on Wilson Lake

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FLORENCE, Ala. – A Lauderdale County grand jury has indicted a man, saying he recklessly caused the death of a woman and child in a boating crash on Wilson Lake on June 8. Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly announced that Ross “Trey” Wooten III is charged with two counts of manslaughter for crashing the boat he was driving into another boat while under the influence.
Ross “Trey” Wooten III (Photo: Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office)
Investigators say Wooten, his 4-year-old son, and Lauren Cowart, 37, and her 5-year-old daughter Blakely of Augusta, Georgia, were on a ski boat headed to his mother’s house when he crashed into the front of a cabin cruiser driven by Mark McBryer. Wooten’s boat sustained heavy damage in the crash, primarily on the passenger side. Lauren and Blakely Cowart were killed in the crash from multiple blunt force trauma. Wooten was seriously injured in the crash, he and his son remained on the boat and yelled for help. They were rescued by three fishermen in the area who heard their cries for help. A toxicology report from the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences indicated that Wooten had a BAC of .121 when the legal limit is .08. Wooten’s bond has been set ad $50,000 and authorities expect he will turn himself into custody later this week. Mark McBryer’s actions in the crash are also under grand jury review. The district attorney said when the crash occurred, McBryer drove his boat from the crash site to a nearby marina while people on his boat called 911. The grand jury will further review McBryer’s actions after the crash to determine whether his actions warrant a charge of Leaving the Scene of an Accident.

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