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Bowling Green man dies in boat crash

By Betty Hayden Snider

A Bowling Green man and a Tappahannock woman died Saturday night after the powerboat they were on crashed twice on the Rappahannock River near where it meets the Chesapeake Bay.

Robert Andrews Taylor Jr., 46, and Catherine Smith Williams, 37, had left the Windmill Point Marina in Lancaster County about 9 p.m. headed for Broad Creek across the river in Middlesex County, said Julia Dixon, spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

About 9:45 p.m., Taylor called 911 to report that he had struck a lighted channel marker in the river three miles from the marina and that Williams was hurt.

The Coast Guard and Middlesex County and game officials were dispatched to the crash site.

But Taylor left the scene and headed back to Windmill Point, Dixon said. By 10:15 p.m., he had struck a seawall at the marina. Rescue crews responded there, but Taylor and Williams died at the scene.

Dixon said a preliminary investigation by her department’s conservation officers shows Taylor was going 40 mph when he hit the seawall. He should have been traveling at a no-wake speed, or “much slower than 40 mph,” she said.

Taylor, who was originally from Tappahannock, was the registered owner of the boat, a 25-foot Grady–White powerboat, Dixon said. The boat was totaled.

Both victims were still on the boat when rescue crews arrived.

Autopsies will determine the causes of death for both victims, Dixon said. Officials will have to wait for toxicology results to determine if alcohol was a factor in the crashes.

Saturday night’s crashes were in the same part of the Rappahannock where a boat struck a channel marker July 5, 2010. A 25-year-old Richmond schoolteacher was killed, and the boat driver and eight other passengers were injured.

The boat driver, Steven W. Nixon, 39, of Montpelier pleaded guilty in February to aggravated involuntary manslaughter and several other felonies related to that crash.

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