It sounds like something out of an action movie, but a jet ski accident June 28 was all too real—and had tragic consequences. Two teenagers fled authorities on stolen jet skis and ended up crashing into rocks, getting badly injured in the process.
The teens had apparently stolen the jet skis earlier in the day, but it was nightfall when the Palm Beach Sherriff’s Office (PBSO) was first tipped off. A PBSO marine unit heard the jet skis in the dark, and went to investigate. Jet skis are prohibited at night, largely because riding at high speeds in the dark is not safe.
But when the PBSO officers came upon the teens, the two decided they would rather run than face the music. They revved up the jet skis and took off in the intracoastal waterway.
They didn’t get far. Unable to see obstacles in the dark, and apparently unaware of the dangerous conditions, the teens cut too close to the corner of Peanut Island. Their jet skis struck the rock there and both crashed.
They were rushed to the hospital, both with head injuries and other serious injuries. One of the boys suffered a collapsed lung. Both improved to stable condition, but could have long-lasting health consequences from their crash.
Often, if there’s any silver lining to a crash it’s the lesson it gives to the rest of us so that we know how to keep ourselves safe. In this case the litany of disregarded safety rules and broken laws is so long that it speaks for itself. The teens allegedly stole the jet skis, and authorities say alcohol may have been involved. That would indicate both underage drinking and operating a water vehicle under the influence, which is dangerous and illegal. Riding jet skis at night is also illegal, as is fleeing from law enforcement. The accident seems to be the inevitable result of a laundry list of bad decisions.
And yet, as parents and as injury attorneys it also seems heartbreaking. The teens’ choices were not good ones, but they’re children. There’s nothing just or fair about the serious injuries these teens sustained. In an ideal world they would have simply been disciplined, and learned their lesson.
Although there will always be accidents, many are preventable. After an ordeal like this we urge all parents who live near the water or engage in watersports to talk to their children about the dangers and about how to stay safe. Maybe one less child will be hurt this year.
If anyone in your family is injured in an accident, on the water or off, you may be eligible for compensation that can help cover medical expenses and other costs. Talk to the attorneys of Steinger, Iscoe & Greene for a free consultation today.