Fun on the wa­ter re­sults in charges for off-duty of­fi­cer

Sunday Star - - LOCAL - By DENAE SPIERING dspier­ing@ches­ Fol­low me on Twit­ter @Dspier­ing617.

EAS­TON — A day of boat­ing went awry af­ter two off-duty Eas­ton po­lice of­fi­cers had an ac­ci­dent on the wa­ter, leav­ing one in­jured and the other with a day in court to an­swer to a slew of charges, in­clud­ing as­sault, reck­less en­dan­ger­ment and op­er­at­ing a ves­sel un­der the in­flu­ence.

The in­ci­dent oc­curred on the evening of Aug. 23, out­side New­comb, when Jeanette Whal­ley boarded the back of a jet ski op­er­ated by Joseph Mitchell Schin­ault. In a dis­trict court trial held Tues­day, Nov. 21, pros­e­cut­ing at­tor­ney David Daggett said Whal­ley had asked Schin­ault to “go slow.”

Daggett said that is when Schin­ault sped up and Whal­ley asked him again to slow down. Whal­ley re­port­edly fell off the jet ski and flipped into the wa­ter, caus­ing in­juries to her torso and lower ex­trem­i­ties.

Daggett said Whal­ley then screamed for help and two pass­ing boaters res­cued her from the wa­ter and took her to the Oak Creek boat ramp in New­comb. At the ramp, Schin­ault was seen load­ing his jet ski onto a trailer and leav­ing the scene.

Schin­ault ul­ti­mately re­ceived nine charges for the in­ci­dent: sec­ond-de­gree as­sault, op­er­at­ing a ves­sel un­der the in­flu­ence, op­er­at­ing a ves­sel while im­paired, op­er­at­ing a ves­sel dan­ger­ously, boat­ing ac­ci­dent fail­ure to ren­der as­sis­tance, boat­ing ac­ci­dent fail­ure to re­port, as­sault in the first de­gree, reck­less en­dan­ger­ment and op­er­at­ing a per­sonal wa­ter­craft in a neg­li­gent man­ner.

Schin­ault en­tered an Al­ford plea for fail­ure to re­port a boat­ing ac­ci­dent in ex­change for the other charges be­ing dropped.

In an Al­ford plea, the crim­i­nal de­fen­dant does not ad­mit guilt but ad­mits the pros­e­cu­tion likely could prove the charge.

Daggett asked for resti­tu­tion of $1,045.97 for Whal­ley’s med­i­cal bills in ex­change for waiv­ing the $350 fine for fail­ing to re­port a boat­ing ac­ci­dent.

De­fense at­tor­ney Stephanie Ship­ley said Schin­ault has been an of­fi­cer with the EPD since 2012, and he has re­ceived sev­eral awards for his ser­vice. She said he has had a boat­ing li­cense for 10 years with­out any prior in­frac­tions.

She said Schin­ault was un­der the im­pres­sion an­other off-duty of­fi­cer who also was in the boat­ing party was help­ing Whal­ley, and he did not re­al­ize the in­ci­dent was con­sid­ered an ac­ci­dent.

Ship­ley asked for pro­ba­tion be­fore judg­ment with full resti­tu­tion.

Pro­ba­tion be­fore judg­ment is when a per­son has been placed on pro­ba­tion be­fore any crim­i­nal judg­ment has been en­tered against them. This means that rather than plead­ing guilty to an of­fense, a per­son im­me­di­ately is placed on pro­ba­tion.

Judge Floyd Parks ac­cepted the Al­ford Plea, the PBJ and the resti­tu­tion in place of fines for the charge. He or­dered Schin­ault to pay the resti­tu­tion and cour­tordered costs of $57.50.

“This is clearly an un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dent,” Parks said. “You will have no right to ap­peal a PBJ, but it does go on your crim­i­nal record and may af­fect what you do for a liv­ing.”

Schin­ault agreed to pay resti­tu­tion and the court costs prior to leav­ing the court­house on Tues­day.

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