Boater in fatal Alum Creek accident pleads not guilty


The operator of a boat that was involved in an August 2015 boating accident at Alum Creek Lake that killed an Australian teenager entered a not-guilty plea in Delaware Municipal Court on Wednesday.

Andrew Lehman, 35, of 6259 Worthington Road, Westerville, has been charged with reckless operation, failure to take action to avoid a collision, failure to travel at a safe speed, and failure to keep proper look-out, which are all misdemeanor charges.

He was scheduled to be arraigned in Delaware Municipal Court Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. but entered a not-guilty plea through his attorney on Jan. 8. He did not appear in court.

Municipal Judge Marianne Hemmeter accepted the plea Wednesday and scheduled a pretrial hearing for Feb. 10 at 2 p.m.

Officials from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources reported that on Sunday, Aug. 2, at about 4 p.m. ODNR authorities received a call about a woman who was reportedly hit by a boat in Alum Creek Lake in Delaware County. The woman, 19-year-old Morgan Montgomery, of Willunga, Australia, had been water-skiing when she fell into the water and was hit by Lehman’s boat.

Authorities searched the reservoir into the night Sunday but called off the search when it was too dark to safely search the waters. The search resumed the next morning and Montgomery’s body was recovered the evening of Monday, Aug. 3, in an area north of the beach and south of the marina.

Montgomery was reportedly attending a church camp for youths between the ages of 13 and 18 years old. Water-skiing is among several activities for Ohio Teen Camp, one of several camps sponsored by the Living Church of God in Charlotte, North Carolina.

After her body was recovered, a memorial service was held on Alum Creek the following weekend.

During the investigation, ODNR officials said Lehman had been cooperating fully with their investigators.

Crews from ODNR as well as the Berlin Township, Orange Township and Genoa Township fire departments assisted in the search. The Genoa Township Fire Department’s dive team was also deployed to the area as well as search boats equipped with sonar, a cadaver dog and an aerial drone.

Montgomery was reportedly wearing a life jacket at the time of the accident.

By Glenn Battishill

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Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

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