JAY — A Tulsa man surrendered to authorities Monday in the May 14 boating deaths of two people on Grand Lake.
John Deselms was charged with two counts of first-degree manslaughter in Delaware County District Court. He was released after posting $25,000 bond, said his attorney, Winston Connor II.
Deselms was the driver of a boat that crashed into a docked houseboat on Grand Lake, killing Nicole Swetnam, 21, of Grove, and William Lewis “Trey” Varner III, 21, of Texarkana, Ark.
Deselms declined to answer questions related to the accident on the advice of his attorney.
“The effect of this accident on Trey and Rachel's families and friends continues to be devastating to say the least,” Deselms said. “I love them and miss them both dearly and not a day goes by that I don't think about them.”
Excessive speed, alcohol and operator inattention were listed as contributing factors in the fatal crash, according to a 14-page Grand River Dam Authority preliminary investigation report.
Deselms told authority police that he consumed 10 beers and a shot of tequila and had taken an antidepressant not prescribed to him before the crash, according to a probable cause affidavit. He also admitted to smoking marijuana two days before the accident, the affidavit states.
A blood alcohol test showed Deselms was more than two times over the legal limit to be operating a vessel. Deselms' blood alcohol level was 0.18, the affidavit states.
The bow of the Cobalt boat crashed through the back wall of the houseboat and the propeller was resting on the lower deck of the houseboat, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Swetnam and Varner were seated in the bow and were pronounced dead at the scene. Five other passengers also were on the boat.
Deselms told authority police that he was traveling about 25 mph and had “about 1,000 hours” of driving experience, the affidavit states. Swetnam was a graduate of Cascia Hall Preparatory School in Tulsa and a former Miss Teen Oklahoma. She and Varner were students at the University of Arkansas. Deselms had just completed his junior year at the university.