A long night of boating, drinking and fighting topped off with a long swim to shore and a search for her body has landed a Lake Ozark woman in legal deep water.
Late in the day on June 4, Bethany Rose Lauenstein, 19, joined a group of young women on the Justy Lucky, a 52-foot Sea Ray, owned by Glenn Jourdon and piloted by Jerry Peeper. From Jourdan’s home at the 6-mile marker, the Justy Lucky made the rounds of lakefront bars, ending up at the 7-mile marker of the Gravois Arm about 3 a.m. the next morning.
That’s when events took a turn that would lead to a drowning report and eventually have Lauenstein facing assault charges.
Lauenstein apparently decided she had to be elsewhere and began telling Peeper to turn the boat around and take her back to the last bar the crew had visited. Then Lauenstein allegedly began arguing with one of the other young women aboard, Toni Petralie, 22. The argument escalated when Petralie by her own account goaded Lauenstein. Lauenstein began pummeling Petralie then turned on Taylor Vernon, 21, who tried to intervene, and hit her in the face repeatedly.
A male passenger grabbed Lauenstein, who reportedly had been drinking heavily, and shut her in the boat’s cabin.
According to Peeper, he stopped the boat when the forward hatch popped open and Lauenstein jumped out on deck. Peeper called for someone to grab her before she fell overboard but before anyone could react, Lauenstein dove into the lake. Peeper turned the boat’s spotlight on Lauenstein and threw her a floatation device, which she ignored before disappearing underwater.
In response to Peeper’s call, personnel from the Missouri State Highway Patrol Marine Division, the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department, the Gravois and Rocky Mount fire departments, the Highway Patrol and Mid County Fire Department dive teams turned out to search for Lauenstein who was not found and presumed drowned. Divers were searching for her body at about 6 a.m. when Lauenstein’s mother called to say her daughter swam to shore and made her way home after jumping off the boat.
Petralie and Vernon allegedly suffered facial bruises, a black eye, a bloody nose and cut lips in the altercation with Lauenstein.
Just after noon, police arrested Lauenstein and charged her with assault.
According to court documents, Lauenstein told police she was minding her own business when the other girls ganged up on her. “They started calling me white trash,” Lauenstein said. “So I kicked her (Petralie’s) ass.”
Lauenstein could not explain her reaction, saying she had never done “anything like that before.” When questioned about the duration of the fight, Lauenstein said, “Fight? It was more like an ass kicking. Probably about one minute.”
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