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Boat Explosion Results Injuries & Potential BUI Charges

September 6, 2016

NEEDLES, Calif – On Sunday September 4, at about 5:15 p.m. deputies from the San Bernardino County Sheriff - Colorado River Station's Marine Enforcement Unit were dispatched to the Jack Smith Park to investigate a boat explosion. Due to the Labor Day holiday the area was very congested. On this afternoon, Robert Ivey (age 52 of Tustin) was attempting to launch his 28 foot boat on the launch ramp at Jack Smith Park. Ivey's passengers were seated on the boat while he attempted to start the engine.

While starting the vessel, the engine compartment exploded, which resulted in a passenger being thrown approximately 20 feet from the boat and into the water. A nearby boater pulled the passenger from the water and to safety. Both Ivey and the passenger sustained serious burns requiring medical attention. The passenger was airlifted to a trauma center in Las Vegas, Nevada for treatment due to the severity of her burns. Ivey was admitted to a local hospital for treatment.

The case is being sent to the San Bernardino County District Attorney's office, pending charges of driving his vehicle and vessel while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, causing injuries.

Boaters are reminded to activate the engine compartment ventilation blower prior to attempting to start their vessel. This is a fire prevention device which is required on all vessels with a confined engine compartment.

Persons charged with a crime are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or you may leave information on the We-Tip Hotline at

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