Man charged with boating under influence in fisherman's death

Sister: Sonny Lewis, 31, knocked overboard saving child in boating crash

By Erik Avanier - Reporter

CAMDEN COUNTY, Ga. - A boater is facing homicide charges in the death of a fisherman who is being hailed as a hero by his loved ones.

Sonny Lewis, 31, (pictured below) was knocked overboard June 22 during a fishing tournament on the Satilla River when his boat was struck by another boat that was speeding around a curve in the river, authorities said.

Delphia Monk, Lewis' sister, told News4Jax that Lewis pushed a 6-year-old boy on his boat out of the way and took the brunt of the impact himself. That impact sent Lewis into the river, and after a two-day search, his body was found by Georgia game wardens.

Sonny Lewis

Monk called her brother a hero.

"That's just Sonny. Sonny was an amazing person," she said. "He was a great person. We have a news article our hometown wrote about him and it was just amazing.”

According to Georgia investigators, the driver of the speeding boat that hit Lewis was 31-year-old Robbie McInvale. They said McInvale was drunk while driving his boat "at a high rate of speed" around the bend during the Flathead Catfish Tournament.

His boat struck Lewis' boat, which was floating on the edge of the river.

Officers with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources located Lewis’ body days later in another area of the river.

McInvale has been charged with homicide by vessel, boating under the influence, reckless operation and party to a crime. He was booked into the Camden County jail, but had already bonded out by 1 p.m. Friday.

While Lewis’ family members said they are pleased that an arrest was made, they really want a conviction. 

“Justice for Sonny is what we want. I know that’s not going to bring him back, but at least there will be justice and the person who did this is held accountable for it," Monk said. "He’s got to speak to someone else higher than us.”

Monk said Lewis, who would have turned 32 on Saturday, leaves behind a loving wife, who is still trying her best to deal with his death. 

Lewis' sister posted to Facebook the day his body was recovered, asking the community for prayers:

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