A passenger on a ski boat and the operator of a Sea Doo personal watercraft that collided on Allatoona Lake on Saturday told investigators different stories of how the crash occurred, according to police reports.
State investigators are now trying to figure out how the collision occurred, a process that could take six to eight weeks, Georgia Department of Natural Resources spokesman Mark McKinnon said.
Cheryl Lynn Shepard, 47, a passenger on the personal watercraft was killed in the collision.
A passenger on the boat, 27-year-old Jessica Goodman of Alpharetta, told Cherokee Sheriff’s Office deputies the personal watercraft driven by Richard Scott Goodwin, 57, of Kennesaw was traveling in the same direction as the boat and crashed into the rear of the boat.
Goodwin, before being transported to WellStar Kennestone Hospital, told deputies he had just put in his craft and was traveling toward Little River at about 20 mph when the boat crashed into him at a 45-degree angle. Shepard was taken to Northside Hospital Cherokee where she was pronounced dead.
According to sheriff’s office reports, both Jessica Goodman and the driver of the ski boat, 63-year-old Michael Howard Goodman told a deputy they did not see the personal watercraft until after they heard and felt the collision.
According to Cherokee Sheriff’s Office reports:
Deputies noted damage to the Sea Doo on the rear, left side of the vehicle. They noted the ski boat, a white Bayliner showed “minor scuffs” on the right front and right rear of the boat.
Witnesses reported hearing a loud “thump” or “boom” and then seeing Goodwin and Shepard in the water.
A sheriff’s office incident report also noted a case of beer on the Bayliner and two open cans of beer in the boat. Deputies turned all their information over to Georgia Department of Natural Resources rangers on the scene.
If any charges are filed in the case, that will happen when the investigation is concluded, McKinnon said Sunday.
People on paddle boards near the site of the collision were able to bring Shepard onto a board until a boat from Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services arrived.
Employees at Goodwin Architectural Millwork, which Goodwin owns, said on Monday that he was still in the hospital but had checked in with them by telephone that morning.