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Cops: BWI suspect had 16 kids on board

Charles D. Miller of Manhasset was charged with

Charles D. Miller of Manhasset was charged with BWI (boating while intoxicated), endangering the welfare of a child and reckless operation of a vessel. (August 6, 2012) Credit: Handout

A Manhasset man faces a charge of boating while intoxicated after Southold Bay constables stopped his 22-foot boat with 16 children on board near the Greenport breakwater, town police said.

Charles D. Miller, of Manhasset, was stopped by constables around 2:52 p.m. Saturday near the rock jetty, Southold police said.

Southold Chief Martin Flatley said Miller was stopped initially because a storm front was moving in, winds were up and water conditions were rough. Court papers from Southold Town Senior Bay Constable Donald Dzenkowski said the boat was also stopped because of the large number of passengers on it and then Miller was found to have, "slurred speech, smelled of alcohol beverage, had bloodshot eyes, and failed a field sobriety test," according to Robert Clifford, a spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota.

Miller pleaded not guilty to single counts of boating while intoxicated, endangering the welfare of a child and reckless operation of a vessel at his arraignment Monday in Southold Town court, and was ordered held on $3,000 cash bail, Clifford said. His next court appearance is Friday.

Police said in a report that Miller was "found to be operating the vessel in an intoxicated condition" and that it was "overloaded" with "16 minor children." Flatley said passengers on the boat, a Grady-White center-console model, were wearing life vests. Court papers said there were 18 people on board, including the 16 children, Clifford said.

The Coast Guard sets maximum occupancy numbers only for boats smaller than 20 feet. Flatley said police did not know the recommended occupancy for the boat. A phone call to Grady-White offices in Greenville, N.C., seeking information was not immediately returned.

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