Memphis man sentenced to 12 years after death of father and child on Pickwick Lake

Monday, November 14, 2022 | 04:02pm

SAVANNAH, Tenn. --- A Memphis resident pleaded guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide by intoxication charges from a boating collision on Pickwick Lake which resulted in two fatalities.

On November 14, 2022, 34-year-old Matthew Swearengen pleaded guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide by intoxication charges at the Hardin County Courthouse. Swearengen is sentenced to serve 12 years in jail, have his driver’s license revoked for three years, and have his vessel operating privileges revoked for ten years. Morgan Reynolds, Assistant District Attorney with the 24th Judicial District Attorney’s office, prosecuted the case.

On August 15, 2020, Swearengen operated a personal watercraft (PWC) in Dry Creek that collided with an unsuspecting PWC occupied by David Carter (40) and his daughter, Olivia Carter (6). The collision resulted in the death of David and Olivia.

Nicole Carter, the wife of David and mother to Olivia, stated, “Today is closure for our family and friends. It’s been a long, emotionally draining two years for all of us, but we are thankful for the TWRA investigators, district attorney, witnesses, and everyone involved who helped bring justice for David and Olivia. What happened to David and Olivia could have been prevented. What started as a fun, family day out on the water ended in the worst way possible, all because someone decided to consume alcohol and then operate a watercraft. This one terrible decision forever changed and impacted the lives of so many people. You may think this could never happen to you, but trust me, it can. I am begging you; please do not operate any form of motorized vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. The damages left behind will forever impact our daily lives.”

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency wants to remind the public about the dangers of boating under the influence. Alcohol is the leading contributing factor to recreational boating deaths. TWRA officers are constantly on patrol, looking for impaired operators.