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Speeding personal watercraft crashes into boat near Dunedin Causeway

The 43-year-old Sea Doo operator later died, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
A man was transported to a local hospital with serious injuries after a crash between a jet ski and boat.
A man was transported to a local hospital with serious injuries after a crash between a jet ski and boat. [ Photo illustration by ASHLEY DYE and CHRIS URSO | Times ]
Published May 1
Updated May 3

DUNEDIN — A 43-year-old man died Saturday when his speeding personal watercraft slammed into the back of a boat near the Dunedin Causeway, deputies say.

The crash took place about 11:24 a.m., according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

David Steffano, 56, was operating a 28-foot Chaparral Bowrider and headed east along the Dunedin Causeway while carrying five passengers.

Steffano told deputies that he saw a personal watercraft speeding from the south to the north. It’s bearing kept changing, he said, and he thought it would pass behind his boat. Then Steffano said he turned his attention to the port side of his boat.

That’s when deputies say Jose Rivera-Reyes crashed a 2013 Sea-Doo personal watercraft into the back of the boat.

The 43-year-old man was thrown into the water. Steffano said he stopped his boat, helped bring Rivera-Reyes aboard and called 911 for help.

The vessels were taken to the boat ramp at 343 Causeway Blvd. Rivera-Reyes was taken to Mease Dunedin Hospital for medical treatment of what deputies called life-threatening injuries. He later died.

No one aboard the Bowrider was injured. No other information about the incident was released.