A tragic boating accident on the Alafia River near Tampa took the life of young Jasina Campell. Campell of Riverview, Florida and her friend were tubing on May 17, 2020 enjoying a day of fun on the Alafia River. It is reported that at some point in the day, Andrew Joseph Miltner drove his Yamaha WaveRunner into the tube the girl was riding. A boat was pulling the tube. Campell was killed at the scene, her body later recovered by divers with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. The other girl on the tube was not named by the State Attorney’s office. She was Campell’s friend, a 13-year-old girl who suffered injuries in the crash but survived. The accident was investigated by the Fish and Wildlife Commission in addition to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
The COVID-19 pandemic created “significant delays” in addition to an already challenging investigation, said Capt. Bill Holcomb with the Fish and Wildlife Commission. Investigators revealed that Miltner was tracked down about four hours after the crash. His blood-alcohol level was determined to be 0.07 percent at the time of the crash. Florida law presumes impairment at 0.08 percent. Miltner was arrested on December 7, 2020 and he remained in the Hillsborough County jail in lieu of $150,000 bail. He faces felony charges of boating under the influence (BUI) manslaughter and vessel homicide. The charge, if proven, could carry a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.
There is no mandatory minimum for BUI manslaughter in the state of Florida, unlike a DUI manslaughter where there is a mandatory minimum of four years. The court however will likely look at Milter’s past criminal offenses as an aggravating factor. Miltner is a habitual substance abuser. The Tampa Bay Times wrote about his efforts to kick an oxycodone addiction in 2010. However, he eventually fell back into his old habits and was arrested on a drug charge three months before the water crash.
It is unknown at this time if the Yamaha WaveRunner Jet Ski was rented or owned by Miltner. Florida has strict laws concerning the renting of all personal watercrafts including Jet Skis. These laws require the rental company to provide detailed instruction on the safe handling and navigation of these watercrafts. If these instructions are not properly given, a court may find the rental company liable for the accident.
PWC accidents, like all boating accidents, are subject to the rules of maritime law, a specialized set of local, state, federal and international laws and regulations. If you are injured in any accident on the water, it is important to seek the advice of an attorney who specializes in maritime and admiralty law. Waiting too long after an accident may affect your ability to recover the full amount of your damages, so call the Florida Board Certified Maritime Law experts at The Brais Law Firm now if you or a loved one has suffered an injury on or by a PWC. We are available for a free consultation at your convenience. Call us any time at 305-709-4117, or 1-800-499-0551. Learn more about our firm and our commitment to maritime accident victims by visiting our website.