Alabama State Troopers step up Labor Day patrols on Lake Tuscaloosa

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — It has been a deadly summer for boaters this year on Alabama waters. 26 people have lost their lives as a result of boating accidents.

ALEA Senior Trooper Freddie Ingram is looking for boaters who are drinking and driving and those who don’t have life jackets on board their boats. Ingram is on patrol keeping an eye on boaters on Lake Tuscaloosa.

“This has been one of the worst summers we’ve had on state bodies of water,” Ingram said. “We work hard to educate people and work hard to enforce our bodies of water. And we just people to help us. If you see something, let us know what’s going on around you and give us call. We can’t be everywhere at all times but we try to put forth as much effort as we can to keep everybody safe.”

ALEA says so far this summer there have been 68 boating accidents on Alabama waters resulting in 26 fatalities. In June alone 12 crashes resulted in six deaths. One of those was 26-year-old Kelsey Starling a Birmingham teacher who died in a boat crash on Smith Lake. Her body has not been recovered.

Ingram says his heart goes out to the families who have lost loved ones. He is hoping his stepped-up patrol and visibility is making a difference keeping boaters safe.

“Always on a holiday patrol, we try to work longer shifts to cover more water. We try to put my focus and intensify patrols then what we normally do. We try to patrol hard the entire summer.”

Ingram says the last time there were so many boating deaths in Alabama during the year was in 1998 when 32 people were killed statewide.

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