Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency charges boat operator in drowning death

photo Shawn Jeremy Russell

The father of a 37-year-old man who drowned last year says he's grateful authorities pursued the case for almost a year in order to file charges against a suspect.

"[The investigators] gave me more comfort than anybody did," said 80-year-old Billie Hess, father of Jimmy Hess, who died last year after falling out of a sailboat on Chickamauga Lake.

"I think about [him] regularly. Sometimes it's worse than others," Billie father said. "I just hope something comes of this. ... I don't think [his drowning] was accidental."

Last week, Shawn Jeremy Russell, 32, was charged by Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency with boating under the influence and failure to render aid.