13-year-old Arrested in Fatal Hit-Run

May 2006 News

A 13-year-old boater was arrested Monday after authorities said he hit and killed a 6-year-old snorkeler, then sped away.


 The 6-year-old was snorkeling off Key West with his father and a sibling next to their 22-foot motorboat when he was struck, said Lt. Steve Acton of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.


 An 18-foot skiff sped over the boy, and then crashed into his father's vessel, causing it to sink. The driver paused momentarily before taking off, Acton said.


 Authorities found the skiff tied to a dock at a home and arrested the 13-year-old driver. He will be charged with failing to report the accident, failure to remain on scene and may face vessel homicide charges, Acton said.


 It was unclear whether he would be charged as a juvenile or an adult.


 "It was obvious from what witnesses said that he knew he had run over a boat," Acton said. "It's possible he may not have known that he'd run over the boy, but he should have stopped and checked."


 The 6-year-old was pronounced dead at a hospital.


 Another teen aboard the skiff was injured, authorities said. The teen checked into an emergency room, where staff noticed his injuries and alerted investigators, Acton said. The extent of his injuries was unclear.


 In Florida, anyone under 21 must pass an approved boater safety course or have an adult onboard to operate a vessel with at least 10 horsepower, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Web site.


 It was unclear whether the 13-year-old met the requirements.

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