Tulsa Man Charged With Manslaughter Speaks About Victims Of Boat Crash

Monday, September 9th 2013, 10:15 pm
By: News On 6

A Tulsa man spoke out to News On 6 about the two friends he's now charged with killing.

John DeSelms was charged Monday with two counts of manslaughter, involving a deadly boat crash on Grand Lake back in May.

The ski boat ended up inside of a docked house boat. The two people at the front of that ski boat were killed, and the driver said he's devastated.

"I love and miss them both dearly," DeSelms said.

His lawyer said he's never had a client talk to the media in 20 years, but DeSelms insisted he wanted to talk about Rachel Swetnam, of Tulsa, and Trey Varner, of Arkansas.

"I just wanted to say the effects this tragedy has had on Trey and Rachel's family and friends, as well as my own, continues to be devastating," DeSelms said.

Authorities say DeSelms was driving a boat that collided with a docked houseboat at the Arrowhead Yacht Club on Grand Lake. The crash killed Varner and Swetnam.

"Not a day goes by that I don't think about them," he said.

9/9/2013 Related Story: Tulsa Man Charged In Deadly Grand Lake Boat Wreck

DeSelms is now charged with two counts of first degree manslaughter, and his attorney said he's cooperated with investigators since day one.

According to court documents, he said he drank 10 beers and a shot of tequila and took an anti-depressant the day of the crash. He also admitted to smoking marijuana two days before the crash.

Delaware County Assistant District Attorney Kenny Wright said DeSelms tested negative for pot after the crash, but his blood alcohol level was more than two times the legal limit at .18, and that's first degree manslaughter.

"I know the fact that the kids were all friends is something they think about, but it really doesn't change the way I look at it from a criminal standpoint," Wright said.

DeSelms estimated he was driving about 25 miles an hour. He told officers he didn't remember the collision, only that he was talking to the people beside and behind him before the wreck.

DeSelms could face up to life in prison, if convicted. He turned himself in Monday and is currently out on bond.

We spoke with Rachel Swetnam's dad Monday evening, as well. He simply said, "We miss them both dearly."