Boating Collision Kills Two

By: Julie Straw, WLBT-TV
By: Julie Straw, WLBT-TV

Jenna Martin and Jason Register were looking out over the water at Ross Barnett Reservoir around 7:00 p.m. Sunday evening and saw a deadly collision unfold before their eyes.

A speeding bass boat traveling up river turned into a sand bar where two boats were parked. It happened between Ratliff Ferry and Flag Island.

"He looked like he was turning into a parking space," said Martin. "He didn't slow down; he didn't attempt to."

"When he hit the boats, it sounded like he picked up speed and shot up in the air," said Register. "Just the noise of it. I still hear it. It was bad."

The boat operator was Brad Hardy, a Kemper County man in his 20s.

Officials with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks say Hardy was likely impaired by drugs or alcohol at the time.

Two men were relaxing in the parked boats and were killed. 49-year-old Roger Gibson and Hardy's father, 60-year-old Mike Hardy.

46-year old William Hulett was on the sand bar when he was hit by the boat. He was airlifted to University Medical Center in Jackson and was listed Monday in stable condition.

"This accident was very tragic," said Jim Walker of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. "There were lives lost and there were a lot of lives that have been ruined."

The deadly collision raises safety concerns for those who visit the water often.

This will make the eighth boating-related fatality in Mississippi so far this year.

"By the time the sun beats on you for six or seven hours, fatigue sets in," said Walker. "Your reflexes are slow. You combine that with alcohol or any kind of drug and you got a recipe for disaster."

Brad Hardy potentially faces numerous charges pending the outcome of toxicology reports.

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