Massachusetts boater charged with manslaughter in Maine swimmer's death


    Kristen McKellar (Courtesy: Alison McKellar)

    JEFFERSON (BDN) -- A Massachusetts man who allegedly piloted the motorboat that struck and killed a Camden woman last summer in Damariscotta Lake has been indicted for manslaughter.

    Jonathan D. Roberts, 47, of Waban, Massachusetts, was indicted last week by a Lincoln County grand jury in connection with the Aug. 2 death of Kristen McKellar, according to the Penobscot Bay Pilot.

    McKellar, 32, had been swimming with a friend around dusk when a motorboat approached them, her sister, Alison McKellar, told the BDN in October. The boat was coming fast, the friend later said, adding that Kristen McKellar pulled off a yellow flipper she was wearing and waved it above her head to try and signal the boater before she was hit.

    Roberts reportedly turned the boat around and helped to bring Kristen McKellar to shore, where rescue workers tried to save her life.

    [Friends mourn loss of Maine woman killed by boat on Damariscotta Lake]

    Roberts will be arraigned Jan. 31 at Lincoln County Superior Court in Wiscasset, District Attorney Natasha Irving told the Pilot.

    In addition to the charge of manslaughter, he also was indicted for reckless operation of a watercraft and operating a watercraft at an imprudent speed. He was arrested on a warrant in Massachusetts on Friday, Jan. 11, the Pilot reported, and was released from police custody after posting $1,500 cash bail.

    On Monday, Alison McKellar wrote in a Facebook post that news of the arrest came as a relief.

    “Something is better than nothing and it’s reassuring to know that at least it appears to have been taken seriously,” she wrote. “The lakes belong to everyone and the thought of the state doing nothing has haunted me a bit. Because even though nothing can bring her back and nothing can make it better, there are things that could make it worse. An absence of justice is one of those things that leaves little holes in people, and in the fabric of society, too, I think.”

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