Fatal boat crash investigation to take weeks

John Christensen
The Chronicle Express
The high-performance, 45-foot Donzi speed boat owned and operated by Michael Battley that was involved in a fatal accident Saturday, July 10 on Seneca Lake. Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike asks anyone who witnessed the event or took photographs who has not yet been interviewed by Deputies, to please call the Yates County Sheriff’s Office at 315-536-4438 or email: sheriff@yatescounty.org.

SENECA LAKE – The investigation of the high speed boat crash that occurred last weekend on Seneca Lake may take weeks, say investigators. 

Yates County 911 dispatchers received a call at 5:22 p.m. Saturday, July 1 reporting the accident along the western shore Seneca Lake with multiple people injured in the water near the Showboat Motel near Himrod. Yates County Sheriff’s Deputies and Marine Patrol responded, along with Himrod Fire Dept. Rescue Boat, multiple ambulance companies, Mercy Flight and LifeNet helicopters, Medic 55 Advanced Life Support, N.Y. State Police, and Yates County Office of Emergency Management.

Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike stated that a high-performance, 45-foot Donzi speed boat was proceeding south on the lake at a high rate of speed when it made an abrupt turn, causing it to roll onto its side. 

The owner/operator MICHAEL BATTLEY, 48 of Seneca Falls, and five passengers on board were ejected as the boat rolled. None of the victims were wearing life vests though they were available onboard. Spike says several people on shore swam out to their rescue, and all the injured were brought to the motel’s docks.

CYTHIA A. STUCK, 65, of Waterloo, was pronounced dead at scene by Coroner Tad Smith. Her body was taken to the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital morgue in Penn Yan for an autopsy to determine the cause of her death.

The four other passengers were taken to hospitals for potential internal injuries:

• DELOSS STUCK, 57, of Waterloo, husband of the deceased, was taken to F.F. Thompson Hospital in Canandaigua. 

• JESSICA STINE, 40, of Fishers, daughter of the deceased, was also taken to Thompson Hospital.

• DAVID KNORR, 44, of Clifton Springs, taken by helicopter to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester

• ALYSSA KNORR, 40, of Clifton Springs, was also flown to Strong Memorial.

Battley also went to Thompson Hospital but required no treatment. 

As of Monday, Investigators reported Deloss Stuck has been released from hospital, and the other victims are doing well.

Spike said Deputies and Investigators interviewed several witnesses at the scene, and Marine Patrol impounded the vessel for further investigation and accident reconstruction.

Investigators say the mechanical inspection of the boat will begin tomorrow, July 13 at a local marina; however, it may still be weeks before chemical blood tests and autopsy results are returned by NMS Labs in Pennsylvania.

Sheriff Spike asks anyone who witnessed the event or took photographs who has not yet been interviewed by Deputies, to please call the Yates County Sheriff’s Office at 315-536-4438 or email: sheriff@yatescounty.org. “We thank you for assisting us,” says Spike.