Kentucky man sentenced to eight years after child’s death on Norris Lake

Published 10:35 am Thursday, May 2, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

KNOXVILLE – Norman Sturgill, a 62-year-old resident of Grayson, Ky., received an eight-year jail sentence after pleading guilty to charges stemming from a boating collision on Norris Lake that resulted in the death of a child.

Sturgill entered his guilty plea on April 30, 2024, at the Claiborne County Courthouse, where Criminal Court Judge Zack Walden sentenced him to serve eight years in jail at 100 percent. Additionally, Sturgill was ordered to pay a $5,000 contribution to the Victim’s Assessment Fund and placed under supervised probation for eight years, during which he is prohibited from operating any motorized vehicles, including boats. The boat involved in the collision was forfeited to the state. The prosecution was led by Jared Effler, District Attorney for the 8th Judicial District.

The incident occurred on July 22, 2023, around 7:20 p.m., when Sturgill, operating a 19-foot Triton bass boat, collided with a 24-foot Chaparral open motorboat near Norris Landing Marina. The collision resulted in the death of a male child onboard the Chaparral. Sturgill’s Blood Alcohol Concentration was found to be 0.198% following the incident.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

In a statement provided by Attorney Don Bosch, who represented the victim’s family, the Catlett family expressed some closure with the conviction and immediate jail sentence, although acknowledging it will not bring their son, Connor, back. They hope the conviction serves as a reminder of the devastating consequences of operating a boat while impaired.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) emphasized the dangers of boating under the influence, with alcohol being the leading contributing factor to recreational boating deaths in the state. In 2023, there were 23 boating fatalities and 129 Boating Under the Influence arrests. TWRA officers remain vigilant in patrolling Tennessee waters to detect and apprehend impaired operators, with three boating fatalities reported in 2024 to date.