A Palmyra man was likely stoned when his boat crashed into the Dock Street Dam on the night of May 7, leading to the tragic death of his fiancee and 3-year-old daughter.
Court records say the levels of THC in Cody Binkley’’s system revealed that he had ingested the drug an hour before the fatal crash on the Susquehanna River. The court records were released Wednesday morning when Binkley appeared in court for his arraignment.
Binkley was also taking methadone to help him kick a heroin habit. Mixing that with marijuana could have a harmful effect on motor-skills, problem-solving and making sound judgments.
The court records detailed Binkley’s bad judgment and lapses during the tragic accident. The documents said: "Because of the combination and levels of controlled substances in Binkley's system, he ignored instinctive, natural, and man-made warnings of the hazard in his path of operation; and did not realize the Dock Street Dam was in front of him.”
The records contained the firm conclusion: “The totality of the circumstances and evidence collected during this investigation of prove that Mary Bredbenner and Madelyn Binkley were killed as a direct result of Cody Binkley's drug usage, negligent and reckless behavior, and violations of the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Code and the Pennsylvania Crimes Code."
The court records also revealed other shocking details that could all have contributed to the double-fatality in Harrisburg. One of those is the disclosure that on the way to the Middletown boat launch, a tire on the boat trailer blew out, but Binkley didn’t pay much attention to it and instead continued driving on a wheel rim.
His daughter was wearing a life jacket that was not properly fitted or secured, leading investigators to conclude she "fell out of the lifejacket immediately upon entering the water." Binkley may have been negligent in ensuring his toddler daughter is wearing safety gear properly while they are out in the waters.
Binkley and his fiancee were not wearing life jackets at the time of the accident. Binkley was also found to have committed many other lapses and lied about them during the investigation, including denying driving directly into the low-head dam. He said he was pulled in by the hydraulic boil, but video surveillance proved otherwise.
The 26-year-old, who is facing 16 criminal charges, was released on a $50,000 unsecured bail which means he did not have to post cash to the court but would be penalized to pay $50,000 if he doesn’t show up for court proceedings.
Prosecutors filed four felony charges, including involuntary manslaughter and homicide by watercraft while under the influence.