Victim's Family Doesn't Want Friend Prosecuted

By: Stephen McLamb, Bureau Chief
By: Stephen McLamb, Bureau Chief

Sevierville, Sevier County (WVLT) - A Sevier County man already in jail on boating under the influence charges is still waiting to see if he'll be charged with reckless homicide in the death of his friend in a boating accident last week.

Stephen McLamb has more on why the victim's family is pleading to have the charges dropped.

Prosecutors fight for justice for crime victims often seeking the maximum sentence.

However, the family of a deceased boater says they won't help prosecutors if they decide to charge their friend with their loved one's death.

Family members say Ralph Huskey and Eugene Wise were "men friends" who loved the outdoors.

"Telling war stories about hunting and fishing and things if you know what I mean. They just got to know each other really well and became good friends," says Virginia Wise, victim's widow.

Last Thursday they decided to enjoy a good ole fishing trip on the French Broad.

"I gave him some sandwiches and some cookies. He kissed me, told me he loved me. They left and that's the last I saw him alive," says Wise.

But this trip turned tragic when authorities say the boat hit some rocks tossing both men overboard. Wise died in the incident and Huskey, his friend, was charged with boating under the influence. Now prosecutors are waiting for the investigation to end as they consider reckless homicide charges. That has the Wise family upset.

"It wasn't like it was done purposely. This was like two friends on a fishing trip that turned out tragic," says Wise.

"I'm glad I have enough friend standing behind us. That's what really supports me right now,' says Jeannine Huskey, Ralph Huskey's Daughter.

Huskey's daughter says she's talked to her dad and told him the Wise family supports him.

"He's thankful and he says he's sorry about the whole situation that he couldn't save him because he was just a second away from getting him," says Jeannine.

But she's also trying to get him out of jail on his misdemeanor charge that has a high bond.

"I said, then why does he have a hundred thousand dollar bond?!" Says Wise.

Meanwhile, these two women are just hoping their grief doesn't go past Eugene Wise's funeral.

"He's just hurting real bad and I know he is going to be the rest of his life," Huskey says.

"If he was here right now he would be telling everybody it wasn't Ralph's fault. Forget about it," adds Wise.

Assistant District Attorney General Steve Hawkins says while they do take the victim's feelings into consideration he says they will prosecute if the evidence is there.

Meanwhile, the wise family has gone back to Cleveland Tennessee to make funeral arrangements for Eugene Wise.


WVLT VOLUNTEER TV

6450 Papermill Drive Knoxville, TN 37919 Phone - (865) 450-8888; Fax - (865) 450-8869
Copyright © 2014 WVLT-TV Inc. - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 4346061 - local8now.com/a?a=4346061
Gray Television, Inc.