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MN man charged with causing drunken fatal boating accident

PIERCE COUNTY, WI (WTAQ) - A Minnesota man is due in a Wisconsin courtroom November 25th, on charges that he caused a fatal boating accident while he was drunk. 

47-year-old Patrick Puhalla is charged in Pierce County with five criminal counts in a June accident that killed 40-year-old David Riley of New Richmond. 

Prosecutors said Puhalla, Riley, and another passenger had just left a bar in Prescott when they were boating toward a marina in Afton Minnesota. Officials said Puhalla's blood alcohol level was 0.114, almost one-and-a-half times the legal limit for intoxication. 

He admitted to being near the steering wheel -- but he claimed the boat was being operated by electronics that were newly-installed. 

Puhalla's charges include drunken and negligent homicide, and causing injury while operating a boat while drunk.