University of Georgia sophomore placekicker Marshall Taylor Morgan, 19, was arrested Saturday, June 29, on charges of boating under the influence at Lake Sinclair by Georgia Department of Natural Resources rangers.
DNR Ranger Cpl. Lynn Stanford said the arrest came as part of the department's Operation Dry Water initiative, held every year in conjunction with the Fourth of July holiday. This year, the iniative included air-to-lake surveillance to identify suspect boats. "Sgt. Bo Kelly was in one of the helicopters we had in the air and was directing boats on the water to respond,” Stanford said.“I actually took the call of an individual operating a watercraft towing two inner tubes without a spotter, which is a violation of Georgia boating regulations.
“I responded to the call in the Rooty Creek area, off what I believe to be the area around where Cold Branch Road is located in Putnam County, to find the craft. The driver of the boat appeared to be under the influence. ”Stanford said from the moment he approached the boat, Morgan was cooperative. “He admitted to drinking, and I administered a field sobriety test. He refused the state test,” Stanford said.
Under new BUI laws, which took effect May 15, boaters under the age of 21 may only register a .02 blood-alcohol content — as opposed to the .08 limit for persons over 21 — to be in violation. Stanford said the breath test he performed indicated “the presence of alcohol,” which was substantial enough to make the arrest. According to a report from the Putnam County Sheriff's Office, Morgan was processed at 7:39 p.m. on June 29 and charged with operating a watercraft under the influence of alcohol and towing a skier without an observer onboard. Property bonds were set at $1,556 and $168, respectively.
According to Stanford, Morgan was one of a group of six “athletic-looking guys” and three girls staying at a location off Cold Branch Road; names of the others were not taken because they were not in violation of any laws. When reached for comment early Tuesday morning by email, University of Georgia Sports Information Director Claude Felton said, “Coach (Mark) Richt is aware of the situation.” Morgan, from Coral Springs, Fla., appeared in all 14 games for the Bulldogs last season as a true freshman, making eight of 14 field goal attempts and 63 of 67 extra-points. He was set to enter the upcoming season as the team's starting placekicker.