published Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Drunken-boating case to be tried in November

  • photo
    Bradley Crain is charged with homicide in the boating accident that killed JaMichael Russell and Jeremy Landers on the Tennessee River.
    Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

A man charged in the boating death of his stepson and the son's friend will go to trial Nov. 13 on homicide and drunken-boating charges.

Bradley Crain, 50, learned his trial date in a Wednesday hearing.

Crain, a Lupton City resident, was indicted in July 2010. His stepson Jeremy Landers, 23, and Landers' friend, Jamichael Russell, 22, died May 5, 2009, in a boat crash. Their bodies were found floating face down near the Rivermont Park boat ramp several days after the crash.

A Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency report accused Crain of being under the influence of drugs and alcohol while aboard his 14-foot fishing boat. The report listed "improper anchoring" as the cause of the vessel's capsizing in choppy waters, sending the men into the Tennessee River.

Crain swam to safety.

In the TWRA report, Boat Division Assistant Chief Glenn Moates did not identify the drugs in Crain's system. Moates said officers knew he was impaired by alcohol and that prosecutors would be able to prove negligence.

At the time Crain was charged, Moates said the "totality" of Crain's actions -- drugs, alcohol, choppy water and improper anchoring -- led the agency to hold him responsible for the deaths.

Criminally negligent homicide carries a one- to six-year sentence, depending on the criminal history of the person convicted and details of the criminal act.

Crain has been free on $5,000 bond since he was indicted.

Prosecutor Lance Pope and defense attorney Martin Levitt are scheduled to meet for a final pretrial hearing Aug. 20.

Pope and Levitt declined to comment on the case after the hearing before Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman.

Landers and Russell's deaths were two of 22 boating fatalities recorded statewide in 2009. Seven were alcohol-related, according to the TWRA.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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