Fatal boat crash in Tennessee results in homicide indictment

Published 2:46 pm Tuesday, October 31, 2023

By Jan Runions


Norman Joe Sturgill, 61, was indicted on Oct. 25 for the vehicular homicide of 12-year-old Conner Lynn Catlett. The July 22 incident netted the return of a true bill that also alleges 12 counts of reckless endangerment of a deadly weapon for those affected during the two-boat collision. The incident occurred on Norris Lake near the Norris Landing Marina in Claiborne County.

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According to the true bill, Sturgill was allegedly intoxicated at the time of the crash which contributed to the child’s death.

According to the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, a 19-foot Triton bass boat and a 24-foot Chapparal open motorboat were involved in the Norris Lake collision which happened at approximately 8 p.m. Two occupants of the Triton boat were ejected but managed to swim to shore. The TWRA reported that no other serious injuries occurred resulting from the crash.

Initial reports of an explosion were not confirmed, according to the agency.

The Catlett family has retained the Bosch Law Firm, who released a statement saying they look forward to some small amount of justice for Conner, the family and for those who were also affected by the collision.

The Claiborne County Sheriff’s Office assisted the TWRA in this incident.