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Man arrested for boat crash that paralyzed LSU cheer coach

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Posted: Sep 27, 2011 4:35 PM
Updated: Sep 27, 2011 4:35 PM
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Topics: jack, riffle, chico, garcia, paralyze, paralyzed, cheer, cheerleading, cheerleader, coach, lsu, amite, river, crash

LIVINGSTON - The man who crashed the boat on the Amite River that left LSU cheer coach Chico Garcia paralyzed and four others injured on August 27 was arrested Monday after blood alcohol content tests revealed he was over the legal limit.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested Jack Riffle, 41, on four counts of first-degree negligent injury, driving or operating a boat while intoxicated and reckless operation of a moving vessel.

He was booked into the Livingston Parish Jail.

On Aug. 27, Riffle crashed and lodged a 19-foot vessel underneath a pier in the Diversion Canal in Livingston Parish, paralyzing Garcia, 29, and also injuring Riffle's wife Elizabeth, 44, and their two teenage children.

First-degree negligent injury brings up to a $2,000 fine and up to five years in jail for each offense.

First offense DWI carries a $300 to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.

Reckless operation of a moving vessel brings up to a $200 fine and up to 90 days in jail.

LDWF agents responded to a report of a boating crash incident at 7 p.m. Agents immediately summoned emergency medical responders and began removing debris in order to access and provide basic first-aid to the injured until the advanced medical responders were able to arrive.

Jack Riffle submitted to a blood sample following the boating crash incident, which allegedly showed that he was over the .08 blood alcohol concentration legal limit.

First-degree negligent injury brings up to a $2,000 fine and up to five years in jail for each offense. First offense DWI carries a $300 to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail. Reckless operation of a moving vessel brings up to a $200 fine and up to 90 days in jail.

Garcia is currently at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta which is a hospital that specializes in rehabilitation from spinal cord injuries.

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