Benjamin Urbelis, a 33-year-old lawyer, specializes in defending drunk drivers in court. However, on Saturday he was in need of a DUI lawyer of his own as he was charged in a drunk boating incident in the Boston Harbor that left a teen girl without an arm. The lawyer was driving a 29-foot boat aptly named the “Naut Guilty” when 19-year-old Nicole Berthiaume jumped off the boat to retrieve a seat cushion that had blown into the water. As she was swimming back to the boat a freak propeller accident occurred, slicing her right arm completely off just above the elbow. The girl was one of nine women between the ages of 19 and 22 on the boat that was captained by what police describe as a “drunk and belligerent” Urbelis.
The Boston Globe reports that DUI lawyer Benjamin Urbelis was captaining a boat that contained nine young women between the ages of 19 and 22 and four men in their 30s. The group were boating in the Boston Harbor in the lawyer’s boat named the “Naut Guilty.” Witnesses say that the boat was swerving through the remains of the Long Island Bridge just minutes before mayday calls began echoing out from the boat.
According to the report, Nicole had jumped off the boat to retrieve a seat cushion that had blown off the boat. When she returned to the boat she struggled to get back in. As she splashed in the water, the boat’s propeller sliced the girl’s right arm off above the elbow. Someone from the boat called 911 and the Boston Fire Department and Coast Guard vessels were sent to the scene. Shortly after the 911 call, mayday calls began coming from the boat. However, boats nearby say they could not locate the distressed vessel because the call did not come with coordinates or details of the type of distress the boat was experiencing. Fortunately, the fire department vessel and Coast Guard found the boat and Nicole Berthiaume was rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital. Meanwhile, rescuers searched into the night for her severed arm. However, the girl’s arm was not found.
Despite being unable to locate the arm severed by the boat propeller, the Boston Fire Department Lieutenant Charlie Popp, who raced to the scene of the accident, says that the young woman is lucky to be alive and that “everything worked out well” considering the severity of the injury.
“We were very fortunate. It’s the first one I’m aware of recently with injuries this severe where everything worked out well.”
According to the Daily Mail, Nicole is in good spirits and “taking it well.” Her grandmother, Mary DePasquale, says that the woman is now just requesting “your prayers” as everyone is “just devastated” by the whole thing.
As expected, since Urbelis has a website that tells potential clients that “it is important that you NOT speak to law enforcement officials about your case,” the DUI lawyer refused field sobriety tests and breath tests at the scene and was able to get the breathalyzer postponed for four hours. However, police noted his “belligerent” behavior and glossy eyes along with large quantities of alcoholic beverages on the boat, which also happened to be unregistered. Four hours after the incident, Urbelis blew a.09, the legal limit to operate a vehicle on land or water is@nbsp;.08. The lawyer is now being held on a $75,000 bond for the drunk boating charges.