‘Inexcusable.’ Victim of hit-and-run boat crash talks to News 12; police search for suspect

A Fairfield man says he was a victim of a hit-and-run boating crash in Bridgeport Friday night.

Marissa Alter

Jul 5, 2023, 10:33 PM

Updated 326 days ago


Chris Falterer, of Fairfield, has been boating since he was 15, so Falterer has plenty of experience as a captain. But what happened to him Friday night in Bridgeport was a first—a hit-and-run crash on the water.
“One of the rules of the sea is that you always stop and render assistance to people when they're in trouble,” Falterer told News 12.
Falterer said he’d gone fishing in his new boat and was on his way back around 10 p.m.
“I was heading towards Fairfield just outside of Bridgeport Harbor when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I got slammed into the side of my boat,” Falterer recalled.
He said the boat that hit his didn’t have any lights on, so he never saw it coming.
“I got knocked over. I got kind of shocked for a couple seconds. When I got back to my feet, I realized that I was bleeding, and I looked around my boat, and the boat was kind of destroyed,” Falterer stated.
He said the crash also wrecked his radio and threw his cellphone overboard.
“I saw the boat that hit me motoring off, so I chased him down, and I got up next to him, and I told him, ‘I need help. You just hit me,’” Falterer explained. But he said the driver just looked him and then took off toward Stratford.
Falterer told News 12 Plan B was to head to shore and beach the boat, but luckily, he saw the Fairfield police boat heading back from the night’s fireworks in Bridgeport. Officers took Falterer on board, rendered first aid and called in additional resources including the Bridgeport Police Department’s Marine Unit.
“It was a great collaborative effort between all the municipalities including the Coast Guard and DEEP,” said Lt. William Simpson.
Simpson said Bridgeport police towed Falterer’s boat in while Falterer went to the hospital.
“I'm banged up, I’ve got stitches in my upper lip, but overall, I think I'm pretty lucky to be standing here,” Falterer said.
He knows the injuries could’ve been far worse and not just to him. Falterer’s son was supposed to be out with him that night but ended up staying in.
“Typically, he would be sitting next to me on the console when we're driving—exactly where the other boat hit me,” he told News 12.
Falterer said he understands accidents happen. He's most upset about what occurred after the crash, especially since there were several people on the other boat.
“It’s kind of inexcusable to leave somebody there stranded, hurt, out on the water at night, with no communication,” Falterer stated.
Bridgeport police are searching for the person responsible. The boat is described as 28 to 30 feet, white with a hard top and twin outboards. It’s also likely the boat has damage. Anyone with information should call police.
“This is the first major collision of this type in the past 15 years in this area,” Simpson said.
Simpson also said there are a lot of boats out right now so the marine unit will be stepping up patrols and safety checks.

More from News 12