Boater, 22, pleads not guilty to homicide in fatal crash on lake

Charge connected to death of 23-year-old passenger

Published On: Dec 14 2012 10:34:07 AM CST   Updated On: Dec 15 2012 01:08:32 PM CST
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MAUSTON, Wis. -

A 22-year-old man driving a boat involved in a fatal crash has pleaded not guilty to a homicide charge in Juneau County Circuit Court.

The Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune said Collins stood mute Thursday at a plea hearing. The judge entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf.

Prosecutors allege that Christopher Collins and four friends were boating on Castle Rock Lake last July, stopped at an island party and visited a couple of bars. With Collins at the wheel, the boat slammed into a bridge pillar on the lake. Passenger Michael Miklavicic, 23, died from his injuries. Authorities said Collins had a blood alcohol content of 0.13 percent when tested at a Mauston hospital.

The Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune said Collins has pleaded not guilty to homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and causing injury by intoxicated operation of a boat.

Authorities found 16 beer cans and eight bottles in the boat. They also found eight life preservers in a storage compartment.