Tyler Bray's reckless boating citation dismissed; QB will promote boater safety

8:11 PM, Aug 8, 2012   |    comments
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As the University of Tennessee prepares for another football season, the Vols' starting quarterback is a step closer to putting some of his notorious summer play off-the-field in the past.

Bray appeared in court Wednesday in Loudon County for misdemeanor charges of reckless operation of a personal watercraft.  TWRA officers cited the 20-year-old Bray after he intentionally drove a jet-ski dangerously close to another watercraft and swimmers at Tellico Lake on July 4.  He was also cited for not having a required boater education certificate.

Bray reached an agreement to have the charges dismissed, in part because he agreed to team up with TWRA to promote boating safety.  Bray will either make a public service announcement for mass media or make no less than three personal speaking appearances at local schools to discuss boating safety lessons.

In addition to helping TWRA's boater safety campaign, other conditions of the dismissal require Bray to obtain his boater education certificate.  He is also unable to operate a boat for one year and must pay all court costs.  Bray has until February 13, 2013, to complete the requirements.

Bray did not speak to the media.  His attorney, Brian E. Nichols, issued the following written statement after the hearing:

"Tyler Bray was issued a citation concerning the operation of a jet ski on Tellico Lake on July 4, 2012.  Tyler understands the importance of safety on the water.  There was no alcohol involved.  Tyler has agreed to assist the TWRA in its campaign to promote boater safety.  TWRA officers note that Tyler was polite and cooperative upon receiving the citation.  The citation will be dismissed with his cooperation with TWRA."

TWRA officer shares incident details

TWRA officers throughout the state took to the lakes for safety patrols on the Fourth of July holiday.  Dewayne Williams, a TWRA wildlife officer and game warden, was patrolling Tellico Lake when he noticed some dangerous driving.

"I was coming out of this cove and directly in front of me within 100 feet were a couple of PWCs (personal watercraft) driving recklessly.  It was dead in front of me but they apparently did not see me," said Williams.

Williams said the drivers of the two wave-runners were intentionally driving close to one another in what looked like a game of chicken.

"They were playing something in that nature," said Williams.  "They were driving close and swerving.  Two people fell off one of the PWCs and the other driver was going very close to them to spray them with water.  I pulled up to the driver to explain to him the law that PWCs are not allowed within 100 feet of another vessel.  The fact that his PWC relies on the throttle to steer, if he let off the gas for even a second he could gone straight into the people in the water."

Williams says he did not know who he was explaining the law to at the time.

"I had no clue who he was," said Williams.  "I figured it out when I issued the citation and got Mr. Bray's name.  There was no alcohol involved in this incident.  Mr. Bray was extremely polite and cooperative throughout the entire process."

Williams said he did not write the citation with any intention of generating publicity, but he always wants more people to become aware of boating rules and safety regulations.

"Being on the lake is great and a lot of people take safety for granted.  When you're doing it recklessly, you're putting life and limb and other people in danger.  People need to learn boating safety to make sure you operate a boat in a responsible manner."

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