Alcohol Not to Blame For Tragic Boating Death Crystal M. Gudde
September 10, 2010
By Debbie Van Pelt
One of the last remarks 26-year-old Crystal Gudde of Lee’s Summit posted on Facebook was, “Loved being with you girls Saturday. We should do it more often.” Unbeknownst to Crystal and her friends, more of those good times were not to come. On September 4th, just three days after posting that comment, Crystal was killed in a tragic boat accident at the Lake of the Ozarks.
Gudde and three other passengers were on a boat owned and operated by 52-year old George Constable, also of Lee’s Summit. Constable was in the process of backing his 29-foot boat into a slip at Shady Gators, a popular water-front bar near the Village of Four Seasons. Gudde had moved onto the engine hatch of the boat, to position protective fenders, when the engine suddenly accelerated from idle to full throttle. With no time to slow the engine, Constable’s boat crashed into several docked boats, fatally injuring Gudde, whose cause of death was blunt force trauma. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Constable suffered only minor injuries, requiring stitches on his elbow. None of the other passengers required medical attention.
Captain Mark Walz, District II Commander of the Missouri State Water Patrol, reported that Constable, owner of Constable Roll-off Container Service, was not legally intoxicated, and that no citations were issued. Constable could not be interviewed for this story; but several family members expressed that he was very distraught about the accident. He had been good friends with Gudde for many years, but was so upset that he wasn’t able to attend her funeral.
A representative of Crystal Gudde’s family said they want people to focus on what a lovely, vivacious, kind person Crystal was, rather than on details of the tragedy. In addition to a fiancé and extended family, Gudde leaves a 5-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son. A memorial fund has been established: Crystal M. Gudde Memorial Fund, c/o Great Southern Bank, 150 S Todd George Parkway, Lee’s Summit, MO 64063.