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Homicide charges filed in boat crash that killed Afton harbormaster

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The man thought to be the driver of a boat that crashed in June on the St. Croix River shoreline, killing a passenger, has been charged with homicide.

Killed in the crash north of the Kinnickinnic State Park beach on the Wisconsin side of the river was David J. Riley, 40 (pictured). He lived in New Richmond, Wis., and was the harbormaster at Windmill Marina in Afton.

Riley was a veteran boater, grew up in Inver Grove Heights and graduated from Henry Sibley High School in Mendota Heights, the Pioneer Press had previously reported.

The Pioneer Press reports that Patrick A. Puhalla, 47, of Bayport, 46, is charged in the case with homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, homicide by use of a vehicle with prohibited alcohol content, homicide by negligent use of a vehicle, causing injury by intoxicated boat operation and causing injury by boat operation with prohibited alcohol content.

According to a criminal complaint, Puhalla tried to cover the seriousness of the crash, telling a fisherman who came to their aid that his friend was alive and "not to call the cops," the Star Tribune reports.

Another passenger in the boat, Daniel M. Schulte, 55, of Hudson, was treated at Regions Hospital in St. Paul for injuries, the River Falls Journal reports.

Puhalla's blood-alcohol level was 0.114, according to a criminal complaint, above the .08 limit for driving a boat in Wisconsin. Puhalla could not be reached for comment, the Pioneer Press reported.

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