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'I've been trying to wrap my head around it': Two dead after boat crash into Lorain breakwall (UPDATED)

  • marine-patrol-crash-scene-jpg

    Investigators inspect the area Thursday where a boat hit the steel breakwall at Lorain Harbor. Two people died in the collision after fireworks last night. The white V-shape marks the spot of impact.

    BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE

  • LorainHarbor-FatalBoat-070418-c-01-jpg

    A map showing the location of a fatal boat crash July 4.

    ED BETZEL / CHRONICLE

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LORAIN — Charles Moore said the death of his uncle, Tim Moore, in a boating crash Wednesday night has rocked him and his family to their core.

“I’ve been trying to wrap my head around it. I didn’t believe it when I woke up the next day,” the younger Moore said Thursday in an emotional telephone interview.

Tim Moore, 54, Penny Nickeson, 49, and Tim’s 10-year-old grandson hit a steel break wall in a powerboat on Lake Erie at a high rate of speed about 10:50 p.m. Wednesday after the Lorain fireworks, according to a news release from the Ohio Department of Natural Resource’s Division of Watercraft.

A break wall or “breakwater” is defined as a structure near shores used to protect harbors from destructive waves, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Tim Moore was pronounced dead at the scene and Nickeson was later pronounced dead at Mercy Regional Medical Center. The grandson went to the hospital with minor injuries. Doctors released him to his parents. Authorities have not identified the boy.

Moore’s nephew, a Lorain resident, said he learned about the crash at 2:30 a.m. Thursday and has been struggling emotionally throughout the night and day. He spoke fondly about how generous and loving his uncle was to every soul he met.

“He was by far the greatest person that you could ever meet. He would get you anything if you ask him for something,” he said. “He would give you the shirt right off his back.”

Charles Moore said he and his uncle were extremely close and shared a lot of time bonding together. He recounted who his uncle was as a person, as a friend and as a family member.

Tim Moore loved hunting and fishing on his boat, and loved listening to country music. His favorite song to listen to while fishing was Chris Janson’s “Buy Me a Boat.”

He also loved the Cleveland Browns and NASCAR. His favorite drivers were Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Charles Moore said he had no idea how the crash could have happened, knowing how much time his uncle spent on his boat. In a Facebook live video later made public, Charles Moore went out to the scene of the crash Thursday afternoon, expressing surprise at the size of the scrapes on the break wall and continued confusion on how his uncle could have hit the wall, given his boating experience.

Stuart Ortiz, an Amherst resident who was also boating Wednesday night, said he saw Tim Moore speaking with authorities, who told him to turn back and get his navigation light fixed.

Ortiz said he saw Tim Moore fix the light and return to the water.

Ortiz said the cause of the crash was probably due to a section of the break wall that was recently missing.

Ed Saver, supervisor for the Lorain Marine Patrol, said the section of the missing break wall and the point of the impact were a considerable distance apart. It is unlikely they are connected in this case.

The wall is made of concrete interior with an outer layer of steel that would rise about six feet above the water at the time and location of the crash, Saver said.

Robb Koscho, co-owner of the LoCo ’Yak Shack with his wife, Stephanee, has led kayakers out to the lake for about half a decade and has always exercised safety. He is very familiar with the area of the crash.

When out on the lake, Koscho said he has his groups stay far from the areas that may cross the paths of any boats.

During the Independence Day celebration, Koscho said there are a lot more boaters, thus increasing the risks. After hearing about the tragic events that unfolded Wednesday night, he said its only proves the protocol is needed even more.

“My heart goes out to that boy and his family, but at the same token, that’s exactly why we do what we do,” he said.

The incident is under investigation by the Lorain Marine Patrol pending a report by the Lorain County Coroner.

Lorain County Coroner Dr. Stephen Evans said autopsies were conducted Thursday afternoon, but the results will take more time. The preliminary cause of death for both is blunt force trauma.

Charles Moore said he will always miss his uncle and things will never be the same. This tragedy, he said, will be something he and his family will have a hard time getting over.

“Our family has taken it hard. They’ve taken it extremely hard,” he said.

Contact Bruce Walton at 329-7123 or by email at bwalton@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Facebook at @BWalton440 or on Twitter @BruceWalton.


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