Drunk Pinellas boater crashes into boat, sinks it, damages 2 others: deputies

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PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A man was arrested Saturday night for boating under the influence and causing a crash that sank one boat, damaged two others, and sent two people to the hospital, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said.

Deputies said Kirk Johnson, 62, was driving his 23-foot Yamaha jet boat around 5 p.m. in the Intercoastal Waterway in Indian Rocks Beach just east of 373 12th Avenue. He had five passengers on board.

His boat started weaving back and forth, and crashed into a boat traveling in the opposite direction, deputies said.

The driver of the other boat told deputies he tried to steer his 21-foot Grady White out of Johnson’s way but could not avoid him.

The collision sent Johnson’s Yamaha airborne along with the six occupants, who were all ejected into the water.

Deputies said the unmanned Yamaha was still powered as it circled the area uncontrollably, eventually traveling eastbound and slamming into a dock and an occupied 24-foot Pathfinder boat.

The Grady White hit by Johnson’s Yamaha sank, but the passengers were not injured.

Marine Unit deputies responded to the area and helped pull the boaters from the water. Deputies said a 68-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy were transported to local hospitals with non life-threatening injuries.

The four occupants of the other boat declined medical treatment at the scene, deputies said.

Johnson agreed to perform field sobriety tests, which deputies said he performed poorly on.

Johnson was arrested and transported to the Pinellas County Jail and charged with boating under the influence.

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