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12-224 Marine Unit Deputies Investigate Madeira Beach Crash Of Two Personal Watercrafts; Woman Seriously Injured

Who:
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
Patrol Operations Bureau
-Marine Unit

Madeira Beach Fire Rescue

Treasure Island Fire Rescue

Lauren M. Bell (Operating Personal Watercraft-Seriously Injured)
DOB: 04/17/1987
Address: 5033 Lords Avenue, Sarasota

John H. Geletka (Operating Personal Watercraft-Not Injured)
DOB: 09/10/1963
Address: 5420 Palm Aire Drive, Sarasota

What:
Marine Unit deputies are investigating a crash of two personal watercrafts on Madeira Beach that left a woman seriously injured.

When:
Deputies responded at about 2:27 p.m. on Saturday, September 29, 2012.

Where:
Deputies responded to 13070 Gulf Boulevard in Madeira Beach.

Why/How:
According to Marine Unit deputies, 25-year-old Lauren Bell and her boyfriend 49-year-old John Geletka, both of Sarasota, had rented and were each riding a personal watercraft north of John’s Pass Bridge, along Madeira Beach.

Deputies say at one point Bell headed south, Geletka followed. Both were traveling at a high rate of speed with Geletka trailing behind about 20 yards. According to deputies, Bell made an abrupt 180-degree turn. Geletka was unable to avoid collision, impacting Bell’s watercraft head-on. Deputies say Geletka’s personal watercraft traveled over the top of Bell’s, impacting her head and face and ejecting her from the personal watercraft.

Deputies say Geletka turned back for Bell, got her out of the water, was able to put her on his personal watercraft and began yelling for help as he transported her back to shore.

Bell was transported by air to Bayfront Medical Center for treatment of serious injuries to the head and face. Deputies say the injuries are non-life threatening.

Alcohol does not appear to be a factor.

The investigation continues.

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