Boat Operator Involved in Black Creek Boating Accident Cited with Reckless Operation

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The boat operator involved in the President’s Day accident that killed two Middelburg teens, including his own, was cited for reckless operation. Ted Hanner, 49, was driving the 1985 Baja bass boat on Black Creek near the Knight’s Boat Ramp and Marina facility when the accident took place. According to a spokeswoman from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Hanner left the controls to pump the fuel bulb because the boat was running “kind of ragged,” and he was trying to get more fuel to the motor. The boat veered off and crashed into a tree three feet off the water, killing Hanner’s son, Travis Hanner, 17, and his girlfriend Halee Mickey, 15. The Commission reported at the time that the teens died at the scene from severe blunt force trauma. A spokeswoman for the Commission said that the boat was traveling about 20 mph, and alcohol was not a factor.
Under Florida law, it is illegal to operate a vessel in a reckless or dangerous manner. Specifically, reckless or careless operation of a vessel or manipulation of water skis, aquaplanes, or similar devices is the failure to exercise the care necessary to prevent the endangerment of life, limb, or property of any person. Every operator of a vessel should be aware of waterborne traffic, posted speed and wake restrictions and all other surrounding circumstances. In addition, vessel operators should follow the navigation rules. Anyone who operates a vessel with willful disregard for the safety of other people will be cited for reckless operation, a first-degree misdemeanor. For more information see, boat operator reckless in February accident that killed 2 Middleburg students.

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