published Friday, July 26th, 2013

Chattanooga man's guilty plea in boat deaths lets victim's kin avoid trial

  • 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 Chattanooga man who pleaded guilty in a boating accident that killed his stepson and the stepson's friend has avoided prison time in a plea agreement.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, which investigated the 2009 incident below Chickamauga Dam on the Tennessee River, announced Thursday that Bradley Scott Crain pleaded guilty. The plea was to two counts of criminally negligent homicide and one count of boating under the influence. A charge of negligent operation of a vessel was dropped.

The agreement was struck earlier this month and avoids a Criminal Court trial of Crain.

He was charged in the deaths of his stepson, Jeremiah Landers, 23, and Jamichael Russell, 22, on May 5, 2009.

The men went into the river around 9:30 p.m. when three men were in the boat, trying to stabilize it in the fast-moving water. Two of the men pulled up the anchor and the boat capsized, according to reports from the Chattanooga Fire Department.

Crain managed to swim to the bank. Landers' body was found five days later downstream, while Russell's body was located about a day later.

Crain was given two years of unsupervised probation, a $250 fine and suspension of his boating privileges for a year.

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