Wildwood boater dies in alcohol-related mishap after lady friend falls overboard

Lonnie LaFlam

A 66-year-old Wildwood man who was arrested twice in March in connection with dating violence died Friday night in an alcohol-related incident after his lady friend fell out of his boat on Lake Harris.

Lonnie Gene LaFlam and his 56-year-old female companion, of Louisville, Ky., had been out on the Harris Chain Lakes when they became “lost and disoriented” while returning to Venetian Cove in Leesburg. They eventually found the cove at about 10 p.m. and were attempting to pull up to the dock near Ski Beach when the woman fell out of the 20-foot-long 2006 Tracker boat and started screaming, a report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission states.

LaFlam jumped into the lake to help the woman, who made it back to the vessel and held on until she was rescued by another boater. She was later transported to Ocala Regional Medical Center for observation, the report says.

The Vermont native never returned to the boat and his body was recovered shortly after 11 a.m. on Saturday by members of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office’s dive team. The investigation into the incident is continuing, the report says.

Lake County sheriff’s deputies, Leesburg police officers and crews from Leesburg Fire Rescue also responded to assist in the incident.

LaFlam was jailed in March on a charge of dating violence after allegedly knocking down the same female companion who was with him Friday night. He was taken into custody by Sumter County Sheriff’s deputies after he became “upset” because the woman was visiting his home.

LaFlam was jailed a second time a few days later after allegedly pressuring the woman to drop charges resulting from the attack. He was arrested on charges of violating an injunction and intimidating a witness but all of the charges against him eventually were dropped.

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