Sioux Falls Man Charged in Deadly Lake Madison Boating Accident

Lake County State’s Attorney, Wendy Kloeppner, and Lake County Sheriff, Sarina Talich, announce today that a Sioux Falls man has been charged with Reckless Operation of a Boat, stemming from an incident that occurred on Lake Madison in July of this year.

43 year old Kent Duncan has been charged after the jet ski he was operating struck and killed 13 year old Emily Gorman of Sioux Falls, on Lake Madison last Fourth of July weekend. Court documents indicate that on July 3, Duncan’s jet ski was traveling over 35 miles per hour when he struck Gorman after Gorman fell off a tube being pulled by another jet ski. Gorman died as a result of her injuries.

 Kloeppner stated that, after reviewing the investigatory materials, she feels this is the only charge supported by the evidence. Kloeppner stated the Gorman family is aware of her decision and asks for peace and space during this time. The family released this statement through the Lake County Office of the State’s Attorney. It reads: “We are devastated by the unimaginable loss of our dear Emmy. This has been an incredibly difficult time for us. We are grateful for the unwavering commitment and efforts of law enforcement officers and detectives in their ongoing investigation into Emmy’s death. During this time, we request privacy as we navigate the criminal process and seek justice for our daughter.” 

The case was investigated collaboratively by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks, and South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation. Sheriff Talich said the case demonstrates how the expertise of State and local investigators can effectively work together. She added that, while this won’t bring Emmy back, it does answer the questions about how this event occurred. 

Reckless Operation of a Boat is a Class 1 Misdemeanor. Duncan’s initial court date is set for January 18, 2024