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Boating Outing Turns Deadly

A Sunday night boating accident on Mayo Lake in Person County has claimed the life of a former county woman. Tammy Annette Vicks Duke was thrown from her pontoon boat at approximately 9:59 p.m. Sunday when the boat was struck from behind by a ski boat operated by 33-year-old Robert Franklin Gentry, according to North Carolina Wildlife Resources Sgt. Bill Taylor.

After striking the rear of the pontoon boat, Gentry’s boat ran up over and through the pontoon at a 32-degree diagonal, Taylor explained. The 39-year-old Duke was in the water approximately 10 to 15 minutes before being recovered by lake residents who came to the scene to assist, the sergeant said. She was pronounced dead at Person Memorial Hospital, he added.

Another passenger on the pontoon boat was injured as a result of the collision, Taylor said.

Duke’s body was sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Chapel Hill to determine the exact cause of death.

Taylor said Gentry fled the scene in his boat, which had its lights torn off in the collision. He turned himself in to the Person County Sheriff’s Department about four hours after the incident.

Gentry was charged with operating a boat while impaired, careless and reckless boat operation resulting in the death of a person and failure to render assistance, Taylor said. He was held in the Person County Jail on a $25,000 secured bond.

Sgt. Taylor said the investigation into the incident is continuing.

A funeral service for Tammy Annette Vicks Duke will be held Thursday, June 3, at 11 a.m. at Brooks Funeral Home Chapel with the Rev. George McCullough III officiating. Burial will follow in Halifax Memorial Gardens.