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Officials Investigating "Boat Rage" Incident

Posted at 7:12 PM, Jun 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-27 22:24:33-04

A bizarre case of boat rage on Old Hickory Lake was reported Sunday and authorities said there is a possibility the incident could have been a hate crime.

Ellie Valentine and her friends were on the lake Sunday celebrating a friends birthday, they were returning their rented pontoon to a marina when they say a man on a jet ski started circling their boat and harassing them.

"He came up to the side of us and yelled for us to go faster," she recalls.

According to the TWRA the 20-year-old driver then rammed the pontoon boat with his jet ski three separate times. The third time was so intense it knocked the jet ski driver off of his vessel.

"The third time he hit us we had a couple of people break down on the boat, it scared them bad. It was a scary moment for us," she added.

Ellie said the group of boaters, who were largely LGBT, also wanted to continue celebrating Nashville's Gay Pride festival by flying a rainbow flag from one of the group's boats. Officials said it's unclear if the incident was a hate crime but they are looking at it as a possibility.

"We just got finished with a great Pride weekend in Nashville, lots of good times and I really hope it wasn’t. Anything is possible, I can’t rule that out because I don’t know for sure. I really hope it’s not because we’re all still a bit wounded emotionally from what happened in Orlando," she continued.

The 20-year-old jet ski driver was cited for reckless driving. Officials from the TWRA said they will give their investigation to the Wilson County District Attorney to determine if other charges should be filed.