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Riverview man faces BUI manslaughter charge in Alafia River crash that killed girl

Andrew Miltner was under the influence of alcohol when he crashed a personal watercraft into a tube carrying 12-year-old Jasina Campbell, investigators say.
 
Andrew Miltner, 40, faces charges of boating under the influence manslaughter and vessel homicide in the May 17 crash on the Alafia River that killed 12-year-old Jasina Campbell, authorities say.
Andrew Miltner, 40, faces charges of boating under the influence manslaughter and vessel homicide in the May 17 crash on the Alafia River that killed 12-year-old Jasina Campbell, authorities say. [ Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office ]
Published Dec. 8, 2020|Updated Dec. 8, 2020

RIVERVIEW — A decade ago, Andrew “Andy” Miltner’s life appeared to be back on track.

Miltner had struggled with an oxycodone addiction for years and in 2010 checked into a drug rehabilitation center in Georgia, according to a Tampa Bay Times story. He had prior drug arrests and tried to get clean before, but this time he seemed committed, family members said.

Records show Miltner eventually fell back into his old habits. In February of this year, he was arrested on a drug charge. Now he faces his most serious criminal charges yet.

The 40-year-old Riverview resident was arrested Monday on charges of boating under the influence manslaughter and vessel homicide, accused of causing the May 17 crash on the Alafia River that killed 12-year-old Jasina Campbell.

Related: Victim in fatal Alafia River crash was 12-year-old girl, investigation underway

Miltner was under the influence of alcohol when he crashed a Yamaha personal watercraft into a tube carrying Campbell and another girl, according to a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission accident report.

The crash happened about 7 p.m. on a Sunday on a stretch of the river east of Interstate 75. The boat towing the tube was headed west. So was Miltner. Campbell and the other girl were thrown into the water, the report said.

The medical examiner determined that the 12-year-old was killed instantly in the collision, her father Jason Campbell told the Tampa Bay Times.

Andrew Miltner, 40, faces charges of boating under the influence manslaughter and vessel homicide in the May 17 crash on the Alafia River that killed 12-year-old Jasina Campbell, authorities say.
Andrew Miltner, 40, faces charges of boating under the influence manslaughter and vessel homicide in the May 17 crash on the Alafia River that killed 12-year-old Jasina Campbell, authorities say. [ Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office ]

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office divers recovered her body. The other girl was taken to a hospital with minor injuries, the report said. Neither girl was wearing a personal flotation device.

The wildlife commission’s Division of Law Enforcement later obtained a warrant for Miltner’s arrest. Records show he was arrested about 5 p.m. Monday at a Riverview home.

The arrest report reveals new details about the case: Miltner was traveling at an “unsafe speed” and was operating the watercraft in the “wrong side of the channel,” the report said. He told officers he had been drinking before the crash, the report said, and still showed “signs of impairment” at 8:45 p.m. — nearly two hours later — and failed field sobriety exercises.

Paramedics took a blood sample from Miltner in the back of an ambulance at 11:13 p.m. that night. His blood-alcohol content level was revealed to be 0.06 four hours after the crash. Florida law presumes impairment at 0.08 or greater.

Investigators said he was operating the watercraft in a “reckless manner” while “impaired by alcohol, in a narrow river with moderate traffic.” There was also a witness who was riding on the watercraft with Miltner who told officers he was operating it when they struck the girls.

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Miltner was being held Tuesday in the Hillsborough County jail in lieu of $150,000 bail.

The names of the two girls are redacted from the accident report but the Times has previously confirmed Campbell’s identity. Wildlife commission spokeswoman Shannon Knowles also included Campbell’s name in a statement about Miltner’s arrest.

“Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victim’s family following this tragic boating accident,” Knowles said.

Jasina Campbell, 12, pictured on a GoFundMe page created for her family, was killed in a crash on the Alafia River on May 17.
Jasina Campbell, 12, pictured on a GoFundMe page created for her family, was killed in a crash on the Alafia River on May 17. [ GoFundMe ]

Jasina Campbell’s parents, Coquina Gibbs and Jason Campbell, have waited months for the news of Miltner’s arrest.

“It’s just a bittersweet day,” the father said Tuesday. “I’m kind of happy to see this chapter closed. Now we just have to wait until everything unfolds.”

Jasina had a younger brother and sister. She was in the sixth grade at Kids Community College, a charter school in Riverview, her father said.

“She was so nice and very loving to everybody,” he said. “She cared more about people than herself.”

A GoFundMe effort created by a family friend to help with funeral expenses raised $25,000, 2½ times the goal of $10,000.

Jason Campbell sits at a memorial for his daughter Jasina Campbell at Kids Community College, a charter school in Riverview. Jasina Campbell, 12, was killed on May 17 when a tube she was riding in on the Alafia River was struck by a personal watercraft. The operator of the personal watercraft, Andrew Miltner, was arrested on Dec. 7 on charges of BUI manslaughter and vessel homicide.
Jason Campbell sits at a memorial for his daughter Jasina Campbell at Kids Community College, a charter school in Riverview. Jasina Campbell, 12, was killed on May 17 when a tube she was riding in on the Alafia River was struck by a personal watercraft. The operator of the personal watercraft, Andrew Miltner, was arrested on Dec. 7 on charges of BUI manslaughter and vessel homicide. [ Courtesy Jason Campbell ]

According to the 2010 Times story, Miltner had struggled with an oxycodone addiction for a decade. His tolerance had been so high, he took 40 to 60 pills a day. He’d been arrested multiple times, overdosed and made at least 14 trips to detox and rehab, the story said. Many of his friends died from drug use.

Related: On the front of the war on prescription drug abuse, Joel Miltner is everyone's dad.

Miltner’s father Joel, had spent some $70,000 on drug rehab for his son, never sure that it was doing any good, the story said. In 2010, Miltner checked into a facility in Georgia.

When he visited the family in Riverview for Thanksgiving that year, his demeanor was so different, Joel Miltner believed that maybe he was going to be okay, according to the story.

The article chronicles how Joel Miltner’s experience with his son led the father to help other young people addicted to painkillers connect with resources they needed to begin the recovery process.

“I’ve always been able to come to my dad with anything,” Andy Miltner told the Times that year. “This is who I go to when I need help.”

Andy Miltner, left stand with parents Cindy and Joel in a portrait taken in Cecil, Ga. for a 2010 Tampa Bay Times story. The Miltners had driven up from their home in Riverview to visit Andy, who lived in nearby Adel, Ga. for the week. Andy had been in and out of drug rehab facilities to treat his oxycodone habit with his father's help and finally seemed like this time he'd be successful, according to the story.
Andy Miltner, left stand with parents Cindy and Joel in a portrait taken in Cecil, Ga. for a 2010 Tampa Bay Times story. The Miltners had driven up from their home in Riverview to visit Andy, who lived in nearby Adel, Ga. for the week. Andy had been in and out of drug rehab facilities to treat his oxycodone habit with his father's help and finally seemed like this time he'd be successful, according to the story. [ VRAGOVIC, WILL | St. Petersburg Times ]

Another string of arrests began in 2014, Hillsborough County records show. That year, he faced a charge of driving with a suspended license. In 2015, it was a charge of resisting a law enforcement officer without violence and in 2017, a charge of operating an unregistered vehicle.

In February of this year, a Hillsborough deputy stopped Miltner for an expired registration. He seemed nervous, was visibly shaking and couldn’t speak clearly, an arrest report said. The deputy searched Miltner, according to the arrest report, and arrested him after finding four broken pieces of alprazolam pills and two needles in his jacket pocket.

Miltner pleaded guilty the following month to possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia. A judge sentenced him to time served.