INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Conservation officers with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources are on the lookout for a speedboat that hit a fisherman on Geist Reservoir over the weekend.
Randy Mathis was fishing with his dog around 2:30 a.m. on Saturday. He was reeling in a catch when he heard a boat nearby. Next thing he knew, he was hit.
"He came up over and hit the rollbar,” Mathis said. "I remember seeing that red light on the bow of his boat, and it was like a foot away from my head.”
Mathis says the boat was going roughly 40 mph. The speed limit after dusk is 10 mph. Mathis said he had his lights on when he was hit.
"They pulled over and stopped and asked me if I was OK, and I said, 'I don't know,'" Mathis stated. "I said, 'Are you guys okay?' and that’s when they took off... They didn’t know if I was sinking, if I was bleeding, they just didn't know. They just left me.”
The speedboat made contact directly on the side of his boat, then veered to the right and hit the roll bar above his head. It’s that bent piece of metal that Mathis credits for saving his life.
“I should've been dead," Mathis said. "If it wasn't for that rollbar, I would’ve been dead.”
Mathis and his dog Arthur fell to the floor, barely escaping injuries. However, his boat wasn’t so lucky. It was taking on water as he raced to shore, and now his peaceful safe haven is no more.
“Total frustration," said his significant other Trina Mayhew. "We’re not rich people. We don’t have the money to buy a new bass boat or a used bass boat at this point... There we stand with no boat and a pocket full of medical bills. It’s sad and it’s frustrating.”
As they count their blessings from this near death experience, both Mayhew and Mathis have a simple message for the driver of the boat that left him stranded.
“I would hope he would be a man, and come forward, and take responsibility for what he did," said Mathis
“Just do the right thing, you know," Mayhew said. "It's sad. It's sad.”
Mathis was taken to the hospital by an ambulance that met him at the boat launch. He tried calling 911 while on the lake, but his phone had fallen in the water and did not work properly.
Mathis didn’t get a great look at the boat but believes it was a speed boat that belonged to someone living on the lake. The boat should have visible damage to the front and possibly a maroon or black paint transfer.
If you have any information regarding this incident please contact the Indiana Conservation Officer Central Dispatch at 812-837-9536.