FAIRMONT — Police officers with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources arrested four people over the weekend for the July 18 boating collision on the Tygart River that left a 22-year-old male swimmer injured.
Robert Anthony Meredith was allegedly driving the boat, and has been charged with conspiracy, operating an ill-equipped boat, operating a motorized boat under the influence of alcohol, possession of a controlled substance, failure to render aid after the collision and reckless operation of a watercraft, according to multiple criminal complaints filed by the DNR.
The three passengers of the boat that day, Jeffrey Scott Taylor, Justin Avery Malott and Ashley Nichole Malott, have also been charged with conspiracy, according to criminal complaints against the three.
According to a criminal complaint, Meredith awoke around 8 a.m., smoked marijuana and took a Xanax pill that was not prescribed to him, before he and Taylor went to the Heston Docks complex on the west side of the Tygart River in Benton’s Ferry. The Malotts met the two at the docks, and they all boarded a Ski Nautique motorboat measuring more than 19 feet long, which belonged to Meredith.
At approximately 4:36 p.m., the boat, allegedly being driven by Meredith, struck an individual who was alone wading in the river behind 292 Dunn Ave. in Benton’s Ferry. The collision caused the victim to require multiple operations, and his left leg had to be amputated below the knee, according to the complaint.