Press Release

Kentucky Man Sentenced to Eight Years after Child’s Death on Norris Lake Last Summer

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. --- A Kentucky resident pleaded guilty to one count of vehicular homicide by intoxication and twelve counts of reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon in connection with a boating collision on Norris Lake that resulted in the death of a child.

On April 30, 2024, 62-year-old Norman Sturgill, of Grayson, Ky., pleaded guilty to the charges at the Claiborne County Courthouse. Criminal Court Judge Zack Walden sentenced Sturgill to serve eight years in jail at 100 percent and ordered him to pay a $5,000 contribution to the Victim’s Assessment Fund. After release, Sturgill is prohibited from operating any motorized vehicle including boats as a condition of supervised probation for eight years. In addition, the boat Sturgill was operating was forfeited to the state. Jared Effler, District Attorney for the 8th Judicial District, prosecuted the case.

On July 22, 2023, at approximately 7:20 p.m., Sturgill was operating a 19-foot Triton bass boat that collided with a 24-foot Chaparral open motorboat in front of Norris Landing Marina, resulting in the death of a male child onboard the Chaparral. Following the incident, Sturgill’s Blood Alcohol Concentration was 0.198%.

Attorney Don Bosch, who represented the victim's family, provided the following statement:

“On behalf of the Catlett family, this conviction and immediate jail sentence brings some closure to them, although it never will bring their son, Connor, back to them. At the very least, the Catlett family hopes that this speedy conviction and lengthy jail sentence will serve as a reminder that operating a boat impaired can have devastating consequences. The Catletts wish to thank District Attorney General, Jarrod Effler, Assistant District Attorney Graham Wilson, their staff, and all of the officers of the TWRA, who have been incredibly competent and compassionate throughout this terrible ordeal. Now the family can continue to find ways to heal and further honor Connor’s short but brilliant life.”

Alcohol is the leading contributing factor to recreational boating deaths in Tennessee, and TWRA reminds the public to designate a sober driver and boat responsibly. In 2023, there were 23 boating fatalities and 129 Boating Under the Influence arrests. To date, there have been three boating fatalities in 2024, and TWRA officers will continue patrolling Tennessee waters to detect and apprehend impaired operators.