***UPDATE as of 7:15 p.m. on May 3, 2021***
On May 3, 2021, the Marine Unit was advised 43-year-old Jose Rivera-Reyes was pronounced deceased as a result of the injuries he sustained from the crash.
Next of Kin has been notified.
There are no criminal charges pending.
The investigation continues.
***END OF UPDATE***
***Original News Release***
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
-Patrol Operations Bureau
-Marine & Environmental Lands Unit
Jose Rivera-Reyes (Operator-Injured)
Vessel: 2013 Sea Doo Personal Watercraft
David Steffano (Operator-Uninjured)
Vessel: 2021 Chaparral Bowrider vessel
PINELLAS COUNTY - Deputies assigned to the Marine Unit are investigating a vessel and personal watercraft crash near 62 Dunedin Causeway.
According to deputies, at approximately 11:24 a.m. on Saturday, May 1, 2021, 56-year-old David Steffano was operating a 28-foot Chaparral Bowrider traveling eastbound alongside the Dunedin Causeway, with five passengers on board.
Steffano observed the personal watercraft traveling at a high rate of speed from the south to the north. He described the personal watercraft as having a non-constant bearing and believed that the personal watercraft would travel behind his vessel. Due to the heavy water traffic, Steffano stated that he diverted his attention to the port side of his vessel; at which time, the personal watercraft struck the rear of his vessel, throwing 43-year-old Jose Rivera-Reyes into the water.
Steffano stated he immediately stopped his vessel and assisted getting Rivera-Reyes out of the water and called 9-1-1.
Both vessels and all the occupants were brought to the closest boat ramp at 343 Causeway Boulevard in Dunedin.
Paramedics and deputies responded to the boat ramp. Rivera-Reyes was transported to Mease Hospital in Dunedin with life-threatening injuries.
No passengers on the Chaparral Bowrider were injured.
Speed appears to be a factor in the crash.
Non Emergency Line: (727) 582-6200 | In an Emergency call 911ADA info