A Middleburg, Florida, man was sentenced on Tuesday, August 30, on reckless boating charges in connection with a fatal boat crash earlier this year that killed his 17-year-old son, Travis Hanner, and his son’s 15-year-old girlfriend, Halee Mickey.
Fifty-year-old Ted Hanner pleaded no contest to reckless boating charges and was sentenced to 18 days time served and fined $400 for the February 11, 2011 incident. He was also ordered to continue counseling for an unrelated DUI arrest from two months ago.
The Florida Times-Union reports that the accident occurred on President’s Day on Black Creek near the Knight’s Boat Ramp and Marina facility.
The two teens were seated in the bow of the 1985 Baja bass boat when the man left control of the boat in order to pump the fuel bulb so that more fuel could get to the motor. The boat then veered toward the riverbank and crashed into a tree, causing blunt force trauma to both teens, who were students at Middleburg High School. Both teens died at the accident site, and the elder Hanner was taken to Shands Jacksonville Hospital with minor injuries.
Alcohol was not a factor in the crash.
The Florida injury lawyers at Steinger, Iscoe & Greene may be able to help.
Next week is National Safe Boating Week, and with summer on the horizon it’s a good time to refresh yourself on how to stay safe aboard your recreational boat.
1) Make sure you are in compliance with all federal laws and regulations for boat safety. If you can’t make heads or tails of all the rules, you’ll want to schedule a Vessel Safety Check by the U.S. Coast Guard. A trained specialist will visit your boat to check for the presence and condition of your safety equipment and to make recommendations and discuss safety issues.
2) Don’t operate a vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Alcohol is involved in about a third of all boating fatalities, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Plus, an intoxicated boater is liable to incur large fines, have his operator privileges revoked and face serious jail time.
3) Always wear a life jacket. Not only are they designed to keep your head above water for proper breathing, but they can also keep you warm enough to survive in cold water. To meet U.S. Coast Guard requirements, a boat must have a U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type I, II, III, or V life jacket for each person aboard. Boats 16 feet and over must have at least one Type IV throwable device as well.
4) Always make a “float plan” and leave it with a friend or family member on shore. Every boater—no matter the size of the boat or the length and type of voyage—should make a float plan that describes the vessel, equipment, crew, and itinerary of a planned voyage. Download a float plan here.
5) Be aware of carbon monoxide dangers. To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, inspect exhaust hoses, water pump impellers, and water pump housing and replace them if there’s any evidence of wear or damage. Also, don’t swim near or under the back deck or swim platform.
Have you or someone you know been involved in a Florida boating accident?