Man pleads not guilty to charges in powerboat crash

Jason Lindemann in Winnebago County court on Dec. 21, 2022
Jason Lindemann in Winnebago County court on Dec. 21, 2022
Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 12:28 PM CST
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WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - A man accused of crashing a powerboat into a cruiser on the Fox River has been bound over for trial.

Jason Lindemann appeared in Winnebago County Court Thursday for a preliminary hearing. He pleaded not guilty to the 21 charges against him and was bound over for trial.

The next hearing is scheduled for March 13.

Lindemann, 52, is charged with 21 counts for allegedly crashing his powerboat into a paddlewheel cruise boat last July.

On July 9, at about 9:58 p.m., officers were called to the area between Wisconsin Street and Oregon Street bridges over the Fox River in Oshkosh. Lindemann’s 38-foot speedboat had hit the commercial On the Loos paddlewheel cruiser. There were 44 people on the paddlewheel boat at the time of the crash.

A witness who had been fishing in the area saw the powerboat traveling upstream from south of the Oregon Street bridge. The witness told police that he believed people on the boat to be “rowdy.” After the boat passed under the bridge, “it went to full throttle and the bow went up,” according to the complaint. The witness reported hearing a loud boom near where the On the Loos cruiser was located.

“Witness 2 looked to the north and saw the power boat ricochet to the right off the paddleboat,” reads the criminal complaint.

The witness saw passengers get off the On the Loos. About 15 minutes later, the power boat passed by the cruiser. The witness heard someone from shore saying, “You hit me, you need to stop, you need to come over here.”

“In response, he heard a slurred voice coming from the power boat saying, ‘I didn’t see you.’”

Another witness saw the powerboat stop at the river walk near the Leach Ampithether and observed multiple people get off the boat. The driver was identified as Jason Lindemann. A witness saw him get onto Lake Winnebago with no lights on.

On July 10, at about 10 a.m., officers went to Pioneer Marina in Oshkosh and found the powerboat involved in the crash. It had damage and what appeared to be dried blood inside the boat. A deputy found a case of White Claw on the boat.

The boat was registered to Sweetwater Performance Center in Oshkosh. The business is owned by Jason Lindemann.

A passenger on the speedboat at the time of the crash said he had been drinking heavily all day and ended up at the Dockside with the defendant “where they continued to drink.” He got on the powerboat with Lindemann, who he identified as the driver. The passenger didn’t remember the crash. The only thing he remembered was arriving at Pioneer Marina early on the morning of July 10.

Another passenger stated that Lindemann was the only person driving the boat.

Another powerboat passenger told investigators that she had yelled at Lindemann to “take responsibility and turn around and check on people.” She said Lindemann ignored her.

GPS data showed a slow no-wake speed under the Oregon Street Bridge, but the powerboat “accelerated rapidly,” reaching a top speed of 46 mph as it went in the direction of On the Loos. Lindemann slowed to about 31 mph at the time of impact. The video showed Lindemann failing to stop to help the people aboard On the Loos.

Several people aboard On the Loos suffered injuries, some continuing to seek treatment after the crash.

Lindemann is charged with two counts of Second Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety, 18 counts of Boating Accident Involving Injury - Fail to Render Aid, and one count of Negligent Operation of a boat.

Conditions of Lindemann’s bond include absolute sobriety, an alcohol monitoring device, and an alcohol program. Lindemann was ordered to surrender his passport to the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office.

A special prosecutor with the DOJ took over the case after social media posts sparked rumors of potential conflicts of interest within the county.