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Michael Gunther of Broward County, Florida Arrested for DUI with Property Damage

Michael Gunther, a Broward County, Florida boat owner, was arrested Monday after he was accused of drunkenly ramming into another boat, injuring two people onboard, news sources report. Information regarding the victims’ identities was not immediately available following the incident. Gunther, 48, was booked into the Broward County Main Jail on charges of boating under the influence, aggravated battery, leaving the scene of an accident involving damage, and DUI with property damage. He was later released after posting a $5,000 bail bond. The press did not specify an attorney for Gunther.

According to reports, the incident occurred at the Sands Motel on North Riverside Drive in Pompano Beach. An off-duty Broward Sheriff’s Office sergeant was attending a boat captain’s meeting at the motel, along with various others, at the time. Gunther’s vessel allegedly sped out of the nearby Intracoastal Waterway, music blaring, and attempted to dock at near the meeting.

A member of the meeting asked Gunther if he would turn his stereo down, sources say. In response, Gunter allegedly “gunned his boat throttle and [intentionally] rammed the victim’s boat,” reports say. The force of the collision caused two people aboard the second boat to fall and sustain injuries. After the crash, Gunter allegedly fled the scene in his boat.

Reports say Gunther boated to a ramp at Northeast 14th Street, got out of his boat, entered his truck, and tried to drive away. However, an officer spotted Gunther attempting to leave and pulled him over. During that traffic stop, the officer noted Gunther’s face was flushed, his speech slurred, his eyes bloodshot and glassy, and his gait unstable. Gunther agreed to perform a field sobriety test, which reports say he failed. The officer then placed him under arrest, but not before Gunther reportedly told the officer he was taking lithium for a bipolar disorder.

All kinds of accidents and injuries take place in Florida’s waterways. The Smith family’s fishing trip went horribly wrong when a large sturgeon jumped from the water in front of their moving boat, critically injuring eight-year-old Nathaniel Smith, knocking 16-year-old Amber Smith from the boat, and grazing Austin.

According to reports, the incident occurred on June 22 as Wilson and Angela Smith, their two kids, and their nephew were out on a relaxing fishing trip on the Choctawhatchee River. The river is home to a variety of fish, perhaps most notably the large Gulf sturgeon, a fish that can grow up to eight feet long and weigh 200 pounds. While Sturgeons aren’t known to come after humans, they do spontaneously jump out of the water without warning and can occasionally cause serious injuries.

Sources say that is what happened to the Smith family. “We were bream fishing and it started to rain, so we cranked up and the kids huddled under a tarp in the front of the boat,” Wilson said. “The sturgeon just came out of nowhere, and I yelled and tried to cut the motor but it was too late.” The large fish grazed Austin and knocked Amber out of the boat. The fish, which might have been around three to four feet in length, also caused two skull fractures to Nathaniel, who was later flown to a nearby hospital. He is now recovering at home.

Sources: 7.17.13 Gunther DUI.pdf, 7.17.13 Choctawhatchee River Sturgeon Jump.pdf.

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