Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Teen dies after Labor Day boating accident on Lake Seminole

SEMINOLE — The teenagers filed into Keswick Christian School's chapel Tuesday evening, quietly crying and pausing to write on a white banner.

"Your sweet spirit will be missed," one girl scrawled with a green Sharpie. "I love you. See you in heaven, sweet girl."

On Monday, 10th-grade student Katie Yale, 15, was gravely injured in a boating accident on Lake Seminole. Katie died Tuesday morning.

"We are going to miss her smile," a parent wrote. "But we'll see it again in paradise."

Katie's family planned to spend Labor Day on the water. The teen was riding a tube with a friend, pulled by her father's center console boat, when they collided with a personal watercraft driven by Ryan Godcharles, 21, of Naples, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Yale's companion — Aubree Franz, 13, of St. Petersburg — suffered minor injuries, authorities said. Godcharles was not injured. The Sheriff's Office is still investigating the crash, which appears to have been an accident.

"As tragic as this is and as heartbroken as we are, we rejoice the fact that Katie is with her Lord and savior Jesus Christ, because of her personal relationship with him," said Keswick Christian School superintendent Nick Stratis, who helped guide a special prayer service Tuesday evening.

Katie's mother, Karen, is a guidance counselor at the school, located at 10101 54th Ave. N. Neither she nor Katie's father, Douglas, was available for comment. The couple has two other daughters.

Stratis, the family's spokesman, said the teen suffered serious internal injuries in the collision, including a punctured lung. He said Katie's family, which has deep roots in St. Petersburg, has seen an outpouring of support and love.

Counselors and local pastors were on campus to help students deal with the loss. Pastor Jerry Busby, who serves on the Keswick school board, said Katie was a blessing to everyone she met. "She was a joyful soul and a fun friend," he said at the Tuesday prayer service. "She was a follower of Jesus Christ."

Katie began cultivating her faith at an early age, said Stratis, who taught her last year in Bible class. She was inquisitive, he said, and not shy to explore issues of her faith, what the Bible meant to her life, and what to make of death and destruction. She was involved at her church, Park Street Baptist in St. Petersburg, and played volleyball and soccer, he said.

"This has shook the community," Stratis said. "Death at an early age is hard to put our arms around, even as adults. That's where our faith comes in."

Teen dies after Labor Day boating accident on Lake Seminole 09/03/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 8:53am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning captain Steven Stamkos was curious how he would feel — and perform — in Friday's exhibition against Nashville, his first game since mid-November knee surgery.

    The Lightning’s Alex Killorn, left, makes his preseason debut and has an assist in a 3-1 win against the Predators at Amalie Arena.
  2. Steven Souza Jr. vindicating big trade for Rays

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — There was a time when the three-team, 11-player transaction the Rays orchestrated to get Steven Souza Jr. from the Nationals looked liked a bad deal.

    The Rays’ Steven Souza Jr. has 30 home runs while improving his defense and baserunning.
  3. Fennelly: Lightning's Manon Rheaume made history 25 years ago Saturday

    Lightning Strikes

    The name is part of Lightning history, hockey history, sports history.

    Lightning goalie Manon Rheaume became the first woman to play in an NHL game 25 years ago today.
  4. Investigators reviewing HHS chief's private charter flights

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — Federal investigators are examining Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price's recent use of costly charter flights on the taxpayers' dime for official business.

  5. FSU gives president John Thrasher a pay bump as its academic standing rises

    College

    TALLAHASSEE — With Florida State University moving closer to becoming a top-25 public university, the school's trustees on Friday bumped up President John Thrasher's salary by 7 percent and awarded him a $200,000 bonus.

    Florida State University President John Thrasher, center, is surrounded by lawmakers in 2016 as he visits the Florida Senate. Thrasher on Friday received a pay increase to go with the university's increased academic standing, including in the latest U.S. News & World Report ranking of public universities. FSU ranks 33rd this year, and is aiming for a top-25 spot. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]