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Alcohol contributed to Lake Norman boating death, officer says

One person was killed early Thursday in a boating accident on Lake Norman, according to the Catawba County sheriff’s office.
One person was killed early Thursday in a boating accident on Lake Norman, according to the Catawba County sheriff’s office. WBTV

Alcohol contributed to a fatal boat wreck on Lake Norman early Thursday, the investigating officer said.

Walter Laudenslager, 45, was killed when the Ski Nautique he was driving hit a dock off Heather Lane, ejecting him, said Carson Rogers, senior officer with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.

Emergency crews found no pulse on Laudenslager, the officer said.

Passengers Ben Barnes of Maiden and Brei Ledford of Denver, N.C., suffered minor scrapes and bruises and walked away from the wreck, Rogers said.

The boat hit the dock about 2:15 a.m. as Laudenslager was returning to his dock, which was 200 to 250 yards away, Rogers said.

Laudenslager and his passengers had gone onto the lake for a ride about 45 minutes before the wreck, Rogers said.

Laudenslager was speeding as he returned to his cove, Rogers said. “He just got too wide and collided with the dock at the mouth of the cove,” the officer said.

Both passengers said that the three had been drinking before the wreck, Rogers said.

Toxicology tests will determine how much alcohol Laudenslager consumed, Rogers said.

Heather Lane is off Bankhead Road, which is off Slanting Bridge Road and N.C. 150. The Landing restaurant, Lake Norman Marina and Mountain Creek Marina are in that area of the lake.

Marusak: 704-358-5067;

Twitter: @jmarusak

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