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Fatal boat accident probe to take weeks

Investigators aren’t expected to finish their probe into Saturday’s fatal boating accident on Aquia Creek for a few weeks, the spokesman for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries said on Monday.

John Gregory Atherly, 50, of Coral Springs, Fla., was killed Saturday night after his 19-foot Chaparral boat struck the No. 10 channel marker on Aquia Creek near the entrance to the Potomac River.

A 41-year-old Stafford County woman who was riding with him suffered minor injuries in the accident.

An autopsy on Atherly had not been completed as of Monday, Game and Inland Fisheries spokesman Lee Walker said.

Atherly was living in the area while working as a government contractor on the Quantico Marine Corps Base.

John Zorich, a friend who lives in Stafford, said Monday that Atherly had been working for contractors for about two years and commuting between Quantico and Florida.

Zorich disputed the official account that Atherly was leaving Aquia Creek at the time of the accident. He said he understood that Atherly and the woman, who are friends, were returning from Fairview Beach.

Emergency crews began responding at 10:35 p.m. on Saturday. The first unit arrived at 10:49 p.m. Atherly was pronounced dead on the scene.

Pamela Gould: 540/735-1972