Boater suspected of criminal vehicular homicide after running into neighbors' boat on Otter Tail Lake

Charles Gramith
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OTTERTAIL, Minn. — A boater was arrested on suspicion of criminal vehicular homicide after authorities say he struck his neighbor's parked boat Saturday, Aug. 22, resulting in the neighbor drowning in Otter Tail Lake.

Charles Gramith, 72, of Roseville, Minn., was arrested in connection with the drowning of Neil Baker, 52, of Elysian, Minn., according to a report from the Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office.

Gramith was being held at the Otter Tail County Jail. Charges had not been filed against him as of Monday afternoon.

At 3:23 p.m. Saturday, the sheriff's office received a call about a serious boat crash on the east side of Otter Tail Lake. Along with the sheriff's office, Henning Ambulance, Ottertail Rescue and the Minnesota State Patrol responded to the call.

Initial reports indicated Baker was unaccounted for. Just before emergency crews arrived, neighbors who rushed to the scene to render aid found Baker, the sheriff's office said. Once medics and law enforcement officers got there, Baker was pronounced dead.


An investigation determined that Baker had just returned to his dock after he and several family members had been out on the water. Several family members had gotten off the boat while Baker and his wife stayed aboard organizing the boat's contents and securing it to the dock.

While doing so, Gramith was driving a boat that "struck the parked boat at a high rate of speed," the sheriff's office report said. The collision threw Baker and his wife from their boat into the water. It's unclear whether Baker's wife was injured.

Gramith was later arrested on suspicion of criminal vehicular homicide, the sheriff's office said. The investigation into the crash and its cause is ongoing.

Gramith is the neighbor directly north of the Bakers' lake property, according to the sheriff's office. Otter Tail Lake is roughly 80 miles southeast of Fargo.

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