Driver of boat in May Grand Lake accident, John Deselms, charged with two counts of manslaughter

The driver of the boat that killed two people after it crashed into a houseboat on Grand Lake in May was charged with two felony counts of manslaughter Monday.

The charges come after a boat carrying eight passengers collided with the docked houseboat in May. University of Arkansas students Rachel Swetnam and William Varner III were at the front of the boat when it crashed and were killed.

RELATED: Cascia Hall graduate Rachel Swetnam, friend Trey Varner killed in Grand Lake boat collision (

While in the hospital, Deselms, a Cascia Hall graduate and University of Arkansas student, told investigators he had no recollection of the crash, but confessed to having "about 10 beers," a shot of tequila and an unknown unprescribed anti-depressant. A blood test taken after Deselms was stabilized showed a blood alcohol concentration of twice the legal limit, at .18.

He also estimated he was driving the boat at 25 mph.

RELATED LINK: GRDA: Investigation indicates alcohol, speed likely factors in fatal Grand Lake boat crash (

Deselms, who was injured and hospitalized following the crash, was arrested in a Vinita hospital and cited for operation of a vessel under the influence.

If convicted, Deselms could receive life imprisonment.

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