SYRACUSE — The circumstances surrounding a July Fourth tragedy that occurred on the Ohio River near Syracuse were released Friday morning by the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources (WVDNR) Law Enforcement Division. Celebration turned to grief Wednesday evening when a man died after being struck by a motorboat operated by his brother.
According to Hoy Murphy, communications director for WVDNR, at approximate 6:10 p.m. Wednesday, Scott Cunningham, 42, of Albany, Ohio, was operating a personal watercraft and had been “spraying” a boat by turning sharply in front of it while both vehicles were in motion. Cunningham reportedly lost control and fell directly in front of the boat.
The driver of the motorboat, Clarence Clay Cunningham, 43, also of Albany, and a brother to the victim, was unable to stop and, as a result, ran over Scott Cunningham. According to Murphy, the boat’s propeller amputated Scott Cunningham’s arm, and he died before he could be brought to shore.
Investigators have determined that alcohol was not a factor in the accident. The incident is still actively being investigated, and no charges have been filed at this time.