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Victim of fatal boating accident is honored

Old Lyme — Relatives of Dr. Susan Brandes, who was killed by a drunken boater, laid a wreath today in the Connecticut River on the third-year anniversary of her death.

Brandes, a chemical engineer from South Windsor, died of multiple blunt-trauma injuries after an unmanned powerboat whose pilot had fallen off the boat into the river sliced into her 14-foot sailboat, crushing her and throwing her into the water.

The boat's driver, Gregory Siege, was drunk. He is serving a four-year prison sentence for boating under the influence, second-degree manslaughter and an unrelated drunken-driving charge, but while his case was pending in New London Superior Court, it was revealed that urine tests could not be used to prosecute him for boating under the influence of alcohol because the Department of Environmental Protection had administered the tests 10 minutes beyond the two-hour time limit. The accident scene was chaotic, and Siege, who was rescued from the water by a passing boater, was not returned to shore for an hour.

Since her death, Gov. M. Jodi Rell signed a bill that enables authorities to charge boaters who are under the influence even if tests are administered outside of the two-hour time limit.

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