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Water scooter rides that ended in collisions in gulf and Intracoastal Waterway will lead to charges

A Hudson woman already facing trial for an unrelated drunken driving charge remained in serious condition Monday afternoon after stealing a water scooter and crashing it into the side of an anchored boat, authorities said.

Kimberly Faulk, 28, suffered injuries Saturday when the water scooter, owned by Leo DeMarco of 4911 Anchor Way in New Port Richey, crashed into the side of an anchored 23-foot vessel about a mile offshore of Anclote Key.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Gary Morse said Faulk took the boat without DeMarco's knowledge. It's unclear whether Faulk will face charges, and DeMarco couldn't be reached for comment Monday.

An investigation by the Fish and Wildlife Commission could take up to eight weeks, Morse said.

"Alcohol may be involved" in the crash, he said.

After the collision, Coast Guard units rescued Faulk and flew her by helicopter to Tampa General Hospital.

Faulk has a history of driving violations in Florida. She is slated to go on trial next month for an unrelated drunken driving charge, according to court records, and has previously been found guilty of driving with an expired license.

Faulk's crash was one of several around the area over the holiday weekend.

"Our resources were pretty well strained," Morse said.

In another case, prosecutors added a misdemeanor careless operation involving an accident charge Monday to the case of Jason Parker, 29, of Mableton, Ga.

Parker had been riding water scooters with his 15-year-old cousin, Helena Brown of Suffolk, Va., in the Intracoastal Waterway near the Anclote River Park.

On Sunday, Parker was cited for violating inland navigational rules, after deputies determined Brown had the right of way when their two water scooters collided.

Brown was knocked unconscious in the collision, but the injuries were not life-threatening, investigators said.

The 15-year-old was issued a warning by police because she hadn't completed Florida's boater safety program, required for all boaters younger than 21, said sheriff's Sgt. Dwayne Somers.

In an e-mail to the St. Petersburg Times, Parker said, "This event has shaken myself and my family."

Brian Spegele can be reached at bspegele@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4154.

Water scooter rides that ended in collisions in gulf and Intracoastal Waterway will lead to charges 07/06/09 [Last modified: Monday, July 6, 2009 8:16pm]
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