GREENSBORO, Ala. (WIAT) — A man pled guilty to charges regarding a July 4th fatal boat crash on the Black Warrior River in 2018.

Ricky Latham, 36, pleaded guilty Friday morning to reckless manslaughter in court in Hale County in Greensboro. Latham was driving a boat while drunk nearly five years ago when he collided with another, causing the deaths of Destiny Graben and Richard Glover.

Hale County District Attorney Robert Turner Jr. says he hopes this will allow the victims’ families to begin to heal from the pain of losing their loved ones.

“We are just glad that today we can finally say we do have a guilty plea and the family was here to hear the admission of guilt. Whenever you have a situation like this your thoughts and prayers should be focused on the victims,” Turner said. “With the case coming to a close, hopefully, [they] can get closure. Even though this will never erase the loss, it will never do that.”

Latham’s lawyer Jim Standridge says this case has been difficult for both the victims’ families and Latham.

“Mr. Latham feels horrible about what happened in this case. Three of the people injured and Miss Graben were all friends with Mr. Latham. Mr. Latham did not know Mr. Glover but he feels horrible that Mr. Glover lost his life,” Standridge said. “It’s been a tragic situation for everyone involved including Mr. Latham and he has the deepest regrets.”

During the plea hearing, the charge of reckless murder was amended to two counts of reckless manslaughter. The DUI charge was dropped as part of the plea deal. Turner hopes this tragedy will serve as a reminder to never mix alcohol with operating a boat.

“We do hope this sends a message that you should not operate a motor vehicle of any sort while under the influence of alcohol so we can prevent future tragedies such as the one these families have had to endure,” Turner said.

Latham could spend 2 to 20 years in prison once he is sentenced, which is scheduled for May 17 in Hale County.