BOSTON (CBS) – There was emotional testimony in court Thursday from a young woman whose right arm was severed during a freak boating accident on Boston Harbor in May 2015.
Nicole Berthiaume took the stand, the damage to her right arm clearly visible. Her emotional strength was visible as well.
“I rarely complain about the accident or my disability but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t kill me when I look in the mirror or get help from someone,” she said.
On May 30, 2015, Berthiaume was on a boat called “Naut Guilty” with 13 others in Boston Harbor. Retrieving a football that was thrown in the water, she became entangled in a rope line that was caught in the propeller of the boat.
It then sliced her dominant right arm and severely injured her body.
Prosecutors say it was 24-year-old Alexander Williams steering the boat. Williams apparently sent a text message that he had brought enough alcohol on board “to kill a horse.”
He was apparently ready to plead guilty to negligent operation of the boat and wiping his cell phone clean as investigators sought information.
His attorney was hoping for a continuance without a finding to avoid a criminal record for a man he says used poor judgment.
“He had no intentions or visions of steering or operating the boat that day. He had no idea that anything like this was going to occur,” said defense attorney Robert Goldstein.
It’s a moment that forever changed the young woman’s life.
Her father, Lionel Barthiaume, broke down on the stand.
“Because of their actions first and foremost my daughter Nicole is forever handicapped,” he said.
Williams is expected to plead guilty next week.
The judge in the case is recommending 200 hours of community service at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and for Williams to take a drug and alcohol education program.