Aug 17 1996
A man who was driving a water ski boat that crashed Aug. 17 into a crowded grandstand at Sea World of Ohio was charged with driving the boat too fast and another misdemeanor, a local court said.
The charges came despite state investigators' findings that mechanical failure caused the accident.
The jet-drive boat had lost part of its steering system sometime after the water-skiing performance began, the Ohio Division of Watercraft said.
Jet-drive boats produce thrust by pumping a stream of water at high speed. The boat used that day lost part of a plate that steers the boat by controlling the direction of that stream of water
The 18-foot, jet-propelled ski boat skimmed off the water and into the stands at a crowded weekend show, injuring 24 spectators. One man remained hospitalized, in stable condition with a head injury, a Cleveland hospital said.
A contractor operated the ski show until the accident, when Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. suspended all such shows at its four Sea World parks pending a safety review, Anheuser-Busch spokesman Steve LeResche said.
A municipal court said the driver, Andy Schleis, 25, was charged with excessive speed and failure to take action to avoid a collision. Each is a misdemeanor carrying a possible 30-day jail sentence and a $250 fine, Chardon, Ohio, municipal prosecutor James Gillette said.
The contractor that operated the ski show was charged with failure to have flotation devices, distress signals and an anchor aboard the boat, the Chardon Municipal Court said.
Tags: jet-drive, boat, accident, crash, seaworld, injured, misdemeanor, grandstand, mechanical failure
Location: Aurora, Illinois, United States (load item map)
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