Boat Flips, Injures Crew in Jersey Outlaws Racing Championship

By Pat Johnson | Sep 18, 2019
Photo by: Kevin Inman The Last Minute flips during the second race of the first heat; both pilot and co-pilot were airlifted to Atlantic City Mainland.

Tuckerton — The last racing day of the Jersey Outlaw Racing Association saw a new champion, Screaming Sue driven by Nick Altmeyer of Barnegat, take home the winner’s flags. But the event also contained a few moments of heart-stopping action as a boat flipped during the first set of heats, sending the pilot and co-pilot to the hospital.

According to JORA member Paul Hulse, Bruce and Mark (last names withheld) are both recovering from their injuries. Co-pilot Mark returned home on Monday, and 70-year-old pilot Bruce had surgery on his leg and is in stable condition.

The Sunday afternoon race on Sept. 15 was held at the South Green Street Park in Tuckerton, drawing about 400 spectators. The accident occurred during the second race in the first heat as the speed garvey Last Minute was attempting to catch leader Paul Hulse in Why Me Lord. As the pilot took the turn by the bulkhead, he rode in Hulse’s wake and flipped. Both men remained in the boat as it flipped, rather than thrown clear.

“The Berkeley Dive and Rescue team were right there and got them out,” said Hulse, who went on to win the race. “I didn’t see the accident. I knew he was behind me in the first lap, but as I looked back going into the last, he wasn’t there.”

Hulse said he spoke on Monday to Bruce, who congratulated him on his win. “I’m just glad we were able to talk. This is his first year in racing, and he really loves it. He bought three boats. I’m just glad we’re on the other side of it.”

According to the Tuckerton Volunteer Fire Company Facebook page, both the driver and co-pilot required medical helicopters, as no local paramedic units were available. The fire company and Quality Medical ambulances each transported one victim to the Bay Avenue ball field a quarter-mile from the race, where medevac helicopters took them to Atlantic City Atlantic Care.

Fire Chief Dale Eggert took over EMS operations of the local municipalities to coordinate resources and Assistant Fire Chief Jerry McCorry coordinated the medevac helicopter operations.

At the same time, an accident in Bass River Township required the fire company and a second ambulance to respond; an ambulance from Stafford Township came down to cover the area. Since races are required to have an ambulance on site, this caused a delay in the races.

Tuckerton and Quality ambulance cleared their calls and returned to the races. Meanwhile, Ocean County was handling three other medical helicopter calls.

The Jersey Outlaw Racing Association championship was a five-lap race, with seven boats competing. It was won by Screaming Sue, driven by Altmeyer. Second place went to Orange Crate, driven by Kevin Wulffien.

Except for the accident on Sept. 8, the season of speed garvey races went well, said Hulse. “It was a good season with plenty of action, thrills and spills, and we’re looking forward to next year.”

On their Facebook page, the Tuckerton Fire Company thanked the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department dispatch, New Gretna Fire Company, Quality Medical, Tuckerton police, Stafford Township EMS, New Jersey State Police, and Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center for their assistance.

–Pat Johnson

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