Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Police sort information on river deaths



By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

HAMILTON - Authorities continue to explore what led to last week's fatal boating accident on the Great Miami River near Miami University's Hamilton campus.

Kevin Lodder, 24, of Hamilton and Danny Brodnick, 49, of Miamisburg drowned Friday afternoon after their 26-foot cabin cruiser went over a low-level dam, throwing them out. Their bodies were recovered Sunday.

"We are treating this similar to a fatal car crash," said Detective Monte Mayer, spokesman for the Butler County Sheriff's Department. "There are a lot of different things we have to look at."

Contrary to initial reports that said a third boat passenger swam to safety, Lodder and Brodnick were the only two people on the boat, Mayer said.

One of the focal points of the investigation is determining why the boat stalled before drifting over the low-level dam.

"We want to find out exactly what happened, where people were when it happened and why it happened," Mayer said. "We have some conflicting information."

Neither Lodder nor Brodnick wore life jackets, and there were no life jackets on the boat, he said.

Lodder, an employee of Lodder Marine in Fairfield, was with Brodnick for a test ride on the boat, which Brodnick had planned to buy.

An employee of Lodder Marine said the Lodder family had no statement about the accident.

Investigators are still interviewing witnesses of the accident and others, Mayer said.

The Miami Conservancy District, which provides flood protection, water resource monitoring and recreational opportunities in the Great Miami River watershed, normally places buoys near the section of the river where the accident occurred to warn boaters about the low-level dam.

The buoys are not in the river now because conditions have been unsafe for conservancy employees to place them, said Kurt Rinehart, manager of rivers and streams for Miami Conservancy. But there are warning signs just upstream from the dam, he said.

The buoys wouldn't have prevented last Friday's boating accident, Rinehart said.

---

E-mail skemme@enquirer.com




ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
Howard: Some good news
Korte: Inside City Hall
Pulfer: The ambassador

SCOTUS RULING: AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
Court upholds principle, strikes down quotas
Local colleges step up minority recruiting
Local college-bound teens divided on vote
Tristate: Race matters
Putting the court's ruling into context
Bush: Diversity, not quotas, won
Excerpts from the court's two cases
Editorial: For the good of diversity
Guest column: Colleges face new confusion with court's guidelines
Local voices: Affirmative action ruling

TRISTATE HEADLINES
Reserves receive hero's welcome
Butler Co. closer to relief from flooding
Fairfield can't stand the rain
Taxpayers stuck with Kroger's $15M bill
Mercedes-Benz looking at West Chester
2 motorcyclists die, another hurt in wrecks
Heberle parents demand information
School teams to be split up
Scholarship winners want to help others
CPS unveils two new designs
Calling all canoeists: Prove your skills at Paddlefest
West Chester committee urges recreation levy
Police sort information on river deaths
Parents who owe support offered catch-up chance
Death-row inmate asks for new trial
Obituary: Mary Louise Schum won design awards
Tristate A.M. report

KENTUCKY
Development of Ft. Mitchell farm OK'd
NKU grant may spur more health centers at schools
Video shows off city quirks
Needy parents on long waiting list for state child-care benefits
Ky. educators weigh state, federal testing at schools