Former college professor pleads guilty to charges in 2021 fatal boating accident in Lewis County

WESTON, W.Va. — A former Alderson Broaddus University professor has pleaded guilty to two lesser charges in connection with a fatal 2021 boating accident on Stonewall Jackson Lake in Lewis County.

Tyson Bubnar entered a plea deal Thursday in Lewis County Circuit Court for two misdemeanor charges involving the operation of a boat.

The accident claimed the life of Sarah Hutchinson, 29, of New Albany, Ind., on July 4, 2021 when the tube she was riding in collided with a rock wall.

Bubnar was her professor and was operating the boat.

Two of Hutchinson’s friends, Kayla Sands, of Denver, Colorado and Megan Wade, of St. Louis, Missouri, were riding in the tube with her and were injured. None of them were wearing life jackets.

Bubnar on Thursday admitted to one count of reckless negligent operation of a water craft and three counts of pulling a tube without a PFD (personal flotation device).

Bubnar previously faced a charge of negligent homicide, but the Lewis County Circuit Clerk informed MetroNews Bubnar plans to drop that charge as part of his plea deal at sentencing.

A sentencing hearing has been set for April 5 at 1 p.m.

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