Marina owner convicted in fatal 2008 boat crash settles new environmental protection case

By HOLLY RAMER

Associated Press

Published: 09-07-2023 3:13 PM

A New Hampshire woman convicted of killing her best friend in a boat crash on Lake Winnipesaukee 15 years ago has agreed to pay the state $100,000 to settle new allegations that she interfered with an environmental protection investigation at the marina she owns.

The attorney general and state Department of Environmental Services announced the settlement with Erica Blizzard, owner of Lakeport Landing Marina in Laconia, on Thursday. According to authorities, marina employees severed a fuel line while repairing a dock in August 2021, failed to adequately notify the state, and continued to dispense fuel after a making a faulty repair. Blizzard was accused of hindering the state’s investigation into the fuel line damage until confronted several weeks later.

Blizzard, who did not admit to the allegations in settling the case, did not respond to a phone message and email sent Thursday.

In 2008, Blizzard was head of the New Hampshire Recreational Boaters Association when she plowed her high-performance boat into a rock ledge after a night of drinking. Stephanie Beaudoin, of Meredith, died, and another passenger was injured. Blizzard was acquitted of an alcohol-related charge but found guilty of negligent homicide and sentenced to six months in jail.

The day after she was convicted in March 2010, Blizzard was charged with driving 84 mph in a 65 mph zone on Interstate 93 and almost running down the trooper who tried to wave her down as she fumbled with her cellphone.

Judge Kathleen McGuire referenced the speeding charge when she sentenced Blizzard for the boat crash.

“You’ve got to wonder how anyone responsible for an accident because of negligent operation could engage in such conduct,” she said. “You would think that she would be the most cautious person in the world after that. There has to be some disconnect there.”

Blizzard was found guilty of negligent driving for the speeding charge and was fined $250. In 2016, she was ticketed for texting while driving, pleaded no contest and was fined $124.

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In the latest case, Blizzard cooperated with authorities after being confronted with evidence of the improperly repaired fuel line, officials said. The state agreed to suspend $35,000 of the penalty for 10 years provided the marina complies with underground storage tank rules and laws.

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