Man pleads guilty to littering in breakup of grounded boat off Ludington

A 76-foot pleasure craft rests near the shore off Ludington, Mich., after the operator grounded the vessel when he discovered it was taking on water, April 15, 2017. A boat crew from Coast Guard Station Ludington safely recovered the operator when the vessel started listing at about 15 degrees. (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Northern A1 Services)

LUDINGTON, Mich. (AP) — A man who authorities say grounded a 76-foot (23-meter) boat near the beach of a state park along Lake Michigan has pleaded guilty to littering to resolve the case.

Prosecutors in Mason County had charged 51-year-old Randall West of Grayling with reckless operation of a vessel. They say West grounded the Tica off Ludington State Park in Michigan’s northwestern Lower Peninsula after it started taking in water on April 15, 2017.

The boat eventually broke up, scattering debris along the lakeshore.

The original charge was dismissed as part of this week’s plea. A judge ordered West to pay more than $116,000 in restitution and perform 100 hours of community service.

Authorities say West should have removed the boat before it broke up. They say it damaged the Lake Michigan ecosystem.

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