It's a sad story. Regardless of any of the other factors, the alcohol was probably the most damaging part of this situation.
Setting aside the "innocent until proven guilty" fantasy, once you get enough people to decide, whether through emotion or political opportunism, that you're guilty or innocent, the rest of the process is just for show- a technicality. Like in the case of the OJ jury- the trial was a waste of time. In this case, a big, loud, flashy boat and booze on board most likely made it real easy for alot of folks to make their minds up in advance.
Whether or not the driver was innocent or guilty, had ther been no booze and less "flash", he may have had a shot at telling his story. I always try to remember there are plenty out there who would love to see me roast just for the sport of it.
I was just thinking about this thread when I see this vid posted in the Cig forum of a Gladiator booming off of a lake and into the mouth of a river at 100mph.