TREASURE ISLAND — Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputies are investigating a boat and personal watercraft crash with serious injuries that occurred about 12:26 p.m. Nov. 28 in the Intracoastal Waterway about a mile north of the Treasure Island Causeway Bridge in unincorporated Pinellas County.
According to Marine Unit deputies, an unidentified boat was traveling southbound in the Intercostal Waterway when it passed Adam Kotz, 26, who was operating a 2015 Sea Doo personal watercraft.
Deputies say Kotz accelerated his Sea Doo eastward across the Intercostal Waterway jumping the wake of the southbound boat. Afterwards, Kotz immediately turned around and accelerated again westbound across the Intercostal Waterway in what appeared to be another attempt at jumping the boat's wake.
At the same time, two other boats were traveling northbound in the Intercostal Waterway towards Kotz's location. The first boat was piloted by Isreal Rodriguez, 19.
Deputies say Rodriguez and his passenger Graziana Gladden, 20, observed Kotz cross in front of them eastbound, jumping the southbound boat's wake. Rodriguez told deputies he did not expect Kotz to make an abrupt U-turn and then travel across the Intercostal Waterway westbound into his path.
Rodriguez told deputies he quickly slowed his boat in an effort to avoid Kotz, but he was unable to prevent crashing into the left side of the Sea Doo, throwing Kotz into the water.
Rodriguez told deputies he immediately stopped his boat, as did a second boat with four people that was following behind him. Together they assisted getting Kotz out of the water and called 911.
Kotz was brought aboard the second vessel and both boats proceeded to the closest boat ramp, Jungle Prada, 1700 Park St. N., St. Petersburg.
Paramedics and deputies responded to the boat ramp. Kotz had serious, but non-life threatening injuries and was transported to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg.
Deputies interviewed the four occupants of the boat that was traveling behind Rodriguez and assisted with rescuing Kotz. Those boaters told deputies they also observed Kotz accelerating back and forth across the Intercostal Waterway and ultimately into the path of Rodriguez' boat. They confirmed that Rodriguez had attempted to avoid crashing just before the impact.