Damaged Ratliff boat

The damaged Ratliff boat.

ROGERSVILLE — The operator of a boat involved in a two-vessel collision on Cherokee Lake on Saturday, June 1, 2019, was arrested and charged with Reckless Operation of a Vessel and Failure to Render Aid after fleeing the accident scene.

TWRA Wildlife Officer Chris Seay reports that just after 6 p.m., a pontoon boat being operated by Jaime K. Ratliff, of Abingdon, VA, struck another pontoon boat in the side being operated by Johnny Kilgore and occupied by his wife, Thelma Kilgore, both of Kingsport.

The Kilgore vessel was traveling toward the main channel of Cherokee Lake from Lakeside Campground when the accident occurred.

After the collision, Ratliff failed to stop and continued operating his vessel until beaching it approximately one-mile northeast of the accident scene.

Ratliff then reportedly walked back to his camper at Lawson’s Campground where TWRA officers arrested him a few hours later.

Ratliff on Monday, June 3, appeared before Hawkins Co. General Sessions Judge Todd Ross and entered guilty pleas to both charges and was ordered to pay a $50 fine plus court costs for the Reckless Operation charge, a $10 fine plus court costs for the Failure to Render Aid charge.

Judge Ross also put Ratliff on 11-months and 29-days probation and ordered him to pay restitution for damages to Kilgore’s vessel.