Erin Brockovich-Ellis, the environmental activist who was propelled to fame when Julia Roberts portrayed her in the eponymous film about her work, has been charged with operating a boat while intoxicated.
A game warden arrested Brockovich-Ellis after observing her having difficulty docking her boat and slurring her speech at Las Vegas Boat Harbor at Lake Mead, just outside of Boulder City, Nev., on Friday, officials said.
Edwin W. Lyngar, a spokesman with the Nevada wildlife department, said she tested above the legal limit of .08 blood alcohol content.
Although boozing while boating is de rigueur for many, officials warn that it is a serious problem; 50 percent of all fatal boat accidents are alcohol-related.
“Boaters mistakenly think that boating and drinking go hand in hand,” Lyngar said. “They certainly do not. If we could keep people sober while operating, we'd have much safer waterways.”
The 2000 film “Erin Brockovich” inspired many with the story of a woman with no legal training (Brockovich) who successfully sued Pacific Gas & Electric company for polluting the water supply in a southern California town. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards.
In a statement issued Sunday, Brockovich said that she was not driving the boat in open waters, and that there was no “public safety risk," USA Today reports.
"That being said, I take drunk driving very seriously, this was clearly a big mistake. I know better and I am very sorry,” she added. “After a day in the sun and with nothing to eat, it appears that a couple of drinks had a greater impact than I had realized."
Related stories on MNN: