Questions unanswered in watercraft fatalities |

Questions unanswered in watercraft fatalities

Gregory Crofton

The Sea-Doo involved in last week’s fatal boat accident was taken from Lakeside Marina, but it’s unclear if it was stolen as reported.

Two people died from injuries sustained when the vessel drove under a pier at the Nevada 4-H Camp. But that personal watercraft, along with a second one, were seen parked on the beach outside the Riva Grill On The Lake, a bar and restaurant at Ski Run Marina.

Gregory Westbrook, 21, died instantly in the nighttime accident while his passenger, 24-year-old Charles “Chip” Williams, collapsed on the beach and died shortly after noon Thursday.

Williams, a South Shore native, worked at The Brewery at Lake Tahoe and kept a sailboat at Ski Run Marina. His manager, Tom Whitton, said Westbrook had access to watercraft and had ferried Williams to his boat before.

“I don’t think there was any theft going on,” Whitton said. The two watercraft sat outside the Riva Grill for at least 45 minutes early Thursday, he added.

Westbrook’s occupation and employment status could not be confirmed Monday night. Authorities have said he was a Michigan man in town for the summer.

Employees at Lakeside Marina opened for business on Thursday at 8 a.m. and quickly noticed one of their Sea-Doos was floating free from a security cable. Minutes later they got a call that another one of their watercraft was found two miles away in Marla Bay.

Roger Gadsby, operations manager at the marina, said it’s possible an ex-employee took the Sea-Doo because “they did things others normally couldn’t do to get these Jet Skis from our harbor.”

The South Lake Tahoe Police Department is investigating how the boats were taken. On Monday, police said they have no suspects.

Douglas County investigators are looking into the deaths of the two men in Stateline. The case was reported as a double homicide Thursday, but on Friday Sheriff Ron Pierini announced it was an accident.

See related stories:

Obituary: Charles “Chip” Williams

“Chip” remembered for the smile on his face

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