The Camden County Prosecutor’s Office said Wednesday that no charges are being filed at this time in the crash. The highway patrol online boating report now says the driver of the boat is “unknown.”
“The prosecutor’s office has declined to press charges,” said Scott Hines, chief of operations for the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office. “Frazier was not piloting the boat.”
The morning of the crash, Frazier was arrested on suspicion of boating while intoxicated involving the death of another and serious physical injury, and negligent operation of a vessel. He was booked into the Camden County jail.
Hines said he could not provide any more information on who actually might have been driving the boat. The investigation is continuing, he said.
“Some of the people are deceased, and we don’t want to start throwing names around,” Hines said. “We are not ready to comment on that.”
Sgt. Scott White, a spokesman for Troop F which covers the lake, said additional information and evidence led the patrol to release the new finding Tuesday evening.
The new information and evidence “indicates that (Frazier) was not the driver at the time of the collision,” White said. “Based on information the officer had at the time, he made a probable cause arrest for boating while intoxicated. ... You have to make a decision at that moment, with the information as you know it at the time.”
Asked what led the trooper to that conclusion, White said he was prohibited from discussing specifics of the case.
“Understand, this is a complex case to investigate,” White said. “It was on water, in the middle of night in a less-populated area of the lake. And it was reported an hour and a half after the occurrence. That’s where we started.”
In an incident report released the evening of May 19, the patrol identified all five occupants of the boat. The three deceased are Joseph LeMark, 23, and Daniel Lewis, 24, both of Overland Park, and Hailey Hochanadel, 21, of Olathe.
Frazier and Ashley Lamb, 21, of Olathe were injured. In that initial report, Frazier was identified as the driver.
The Patrol amended that online report at 10 p.m. Tuesday and then put out an update on social media.
Before doing that, several troopers flew to the Kansas City area to notify the Olathe and Overland Park families of those killed and injured in the crash that Frazier was not driving the boat as the preliminary investigation indicated.
Rich Hochanadel, Hailey’s father, said a team of five officials and troopers visited with his family Tuesday night.
“We were all taken aback with appreciation by knowing all five made the trip to let us know,” he wrote to The Star in a text.
The tragedy will continue to weigh heavily on everyone, Hochanadel said.
“We are deeply saddened for all involved,” he said.
After all families had been contacted, White updated the report and released the information on social media. The Tuesday night Twitter post read:
“UPDATE: Fatal boat crash/Lake of the Ozarks on May 19, 2018 - Preliminary online report details have been revised with up-to-date info. The driver of the boat has been amended to Unknown. The reconstruction & investigation is continuing.”
An attorney for Frazier said the news that Frazier was not the driver was expected but is still emotional news for everyone involved.
“Hayden has been made aware of the conclusions of the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s investigation,” said Tricia Bath, who, with her husband, Tom Bath, is representing Frazier. “He remains devastated by the deaths of his friends and focused on thoughts of Ashley Lamb’s recovery.”
The Star requested the boating incident report and arrest report taken that day. Neither has been received. An official with the patrol said Wednesday morning that the reports hadn’t been finalized.
Hines recognized the emotional toll the crash is taking on many communities.
“We know this has touched the hearts of a lot of folks, not just here at the lake but in the Kansas City area, especially Olathe,” Hines said.
The five were in a 1991 Regal Runabout boat when it struck a rock bluff in the main channel at mile marker 47.5 in Camden County, according to the patrol’s boating incident report. At the point of collision, which was across from Simmons Point, Frazier, LeMark and Hochanadel were ejected.
Frazier “re-entered the vessel and paddled to a dock across the channel,” the initial report stated. He paddled a half-mile, White has said.
Lewis was found inside the boat and pronounced dead at the scene. LeMark was located just after 8:30 a.m., and divers found Hochanadel at 11:15 a.m.
Lamb was airlifted to Mercy Hospital in Springfield. She suffered critical injuries and was in intensive care after the crash. Frazier was taken to Lake Regional Hospital in Osage Beach with moderate injuries.
The preliminary investigation indicated that none of the people on the boat was wearing a life vest. Missouri law doesn’t require occupants to do so, only to have one readily accessible for each person on the boat.
The patrol continues to investigate the crash, White said.
“We have a lot of resources looking at that crash,” he said. “It’s a tragic case and we are trying to get to the bottom of it. We understand people want answers quickly and want to know exactly what happened, but we need to ensure that as the investigation progresses that this information is accurate.”