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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

Man killed when bass boats collide on SML

Monday, May 5, 2014

By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer

A Botetourt County man was killed Friday night when two bass boats collided near Bernard's Landing on Smith Mountain Lake.

The body of Timothy O'Quinn, 37, was found about 11 a.m. Saturday in approximately 90 feet of water, according to Sgt. Karl Martin with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. He was not wearing a life jacket.

About 9 p.m. Friday, a bass boat being operated by Gary Nichols, 42, of Moneta struck the right side of another bass boat being operated by Teddy Wolford, 61, of Botetourt County, Martin said. Both boats were participating in the 56th annual Smith Mountain Lake Fishing Tournament.

The Nichols' boat flipped on impact and threw Nichols and his wife, Crystal, 37, into the cold water, Martin said. Wolford's 14-year-old grandson rescued the couple and pulled them into his grandfather's boat.

"That young man's quick thinking probably saved their lives," Martin said. "With the water temperature around 60 degrees, the couple would have succumbed to hypothermia rather quickly."

The couple escaped without serious injury, Martin said. Wolford was transported to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. His grandson also escaped injury.

No charges have been filed at this point in the investigation, but Martin said speed based on visibility at the time of the crash was likely a factor. Alcohol was not a factor in the crash.

Wolford's boat was a total loss, Martin said. The Nichols' boat sustained about $1,000 in damage.

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