Missouri

Overland Park driver in triple fatal Ozarks boat crash was intoxicated, tests show

The Overland Park man driving a boat that slammed into a bluff in May at Lake of the Ozarks was legally intoxicated at the time of the deadly crash.

Toxicology and autopsy results released this week show that Daniel Lewis, 24, had a blood alcohol level of 0.088, which is just above the .08 legal limit. Lewis and two passengers died in the May 19 crash; two other passengers were injured.

Lewis’ body was found inside the boat. According to the autopsy report, he died from multiple blunt force injuries. Also killed in the crash were Joseph LeMark, 23, of Overland Park, and Hailey Hochanadel, 21, of Olathe. Both bodies were recovered from the lake.

Hayden Frazier, 22, of Overland Park, and Ashley Lamb, 21, of Olathe, were injured. All five had gone to Olathe district high schools.

Five months after the deadly crash at the 47.5 mile marker on the Osage Arm of the lake, the Missouri Highway Patrol continues to keep the case open.

“We’re still waiting on lab results for everything,” said Sgt. Scott White.

The five Johnson County residents were hanging out at the lake house of Frazier’s parents that night. According to the investigative report, the three men were taking Hochanadel and Lamb home when the crash occurred.

When the boat hit the bluff, Frazier, Hochanadel and LeMark were ejected. Frazier was able to get back in the boat and paddled it a half-mile across the channel — with Lewis and Lamb inside — to get help. Once Frazier was on land, a group of people docking their boat saw the Overland Park man walking in their yard.

“My buddy hit a rock. They need help,” Frazier said, according to the witnesses.

When the first trooper arrived on scene, he asked Frazier what he hit.

“My buddy hit something in the water,” he told the trooper.

Speed and “nighttime conditions” were a factor in the triple-fatality wreck that reportedly happened just after midnight, according to the patrol. Frazier told troopers that he backed his 1991 Regal Runabout out of the slip and then they changed drivers, the report released Thursday said.

There was initial confusion that night about who was driving the boat when it crashed. In a May 19 audio recording, which The Star obtained, Frazier apparently gave different statements to first responders about the wreck.

The first trooper on scene later spoke to Frazier at the hospital where he was treated for moderate injuries. Frazier told Trooper Shannon Bledsoe that he was unable to remember anything in the minutes prior to the crash, according to Bledsoe’s report.

When Bledsoe asked who was driving the boat, “he stated he could not remember. He later said, ‘I backed the boat out of the slip and turned it over” to his friend. All names in the report provided by the patrol were blacked out.

Several hours after 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.

But after further investigation, the patrol changed its initial report about 10 days later and said Frazier wasn’t driving. The Camden County Prosecutor’s office said at that time that no charges would be filed.

On Lewis’ autopsy report, he is described as the “boat operator recovered from boat following collision with bluff.”

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