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Boat crash leads to felony charge

Posted: July 8, 2011 1:30 a.m.
Updated: July 8, 2011 1:30 a.m.

A Quartz Hill man faced a felony charge Thursday in connection with a boating crash at Pyramid Lake that injured two people and killed a dog.

A Quartz Hill man faced a felony charge Thursday in connection with a boating crash at Pyramid Lake that injured two people and killed a dog.

Deputies with the Parks Bureau of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department identified the man as the operator of the boat and charged him with boating under the influence of alcohol causing injury.

Two occupants of the boat, the driver and one other man, suffered minor injuries in the crash and were treated at a hospital.

One of two dogs in the boat, described as a pit bull mix, died in the crash.

“I suppose that maybe it was tied up to stop it (from) jumping out of the boat, but when your boat goes over, the dog doesn’t stand a chance,” Deputy Johnie Jones said Thursday.

Tragic results
On Wednesday, at 3:55 p.m., park deputies at Pyramid Lake responded to a call of a capsized boat.

Deputies near the crash said they saw that a ski boat had crashed into a rocky cliff face of the shoreline, according to Jones.

The boat was overturned, and all the occupants were ejected, Jones said.

Responding deputies found two men treading water trying to stay afloat, he said.

They threw life rings and life jackets to the men and pulled them from the water.

Deputies managed to rescue one of the dogs but found the other dead underneath the capsized boat.

When the operator of the boat was questioned, the man showed signs of intoxication, Jones said.

The man was arrested after reportedly taking a field sobriety test. He was charged with the felony boating under the influence causing an injury.

“Anything is more complicated with alcohol,” Jones said. “Especially if you’re operating a boat.

“This boat came in close to the shoreline in an area it shouldn’t have been,” Jones said. “The result was pretty tragic.”

The man charged was identified as Juan Rodriguez.

He was booked at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station and being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Shoreline collision
Wednesday’s incident is the second serious boating accident to involve area victims in less than two weeks.

On June 26, a Colorado River boating crash claimed the life of 21-year-old Brittney Stark, of Canyon Country.

In that separate incident, unrelated to what happened at Pyramid Lake, eight passengers in a wake-boarding boat on the Colorado River were hospitalized for injuries after the boat reportedly hit the shoreline, ejecting several passengers.

Stark was taken to La Paz Regional Medical Center in Arizona, where she was pronounced dead.


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