NATIONAL NEWS

Boat operator who fatally struck a 15-year-old girl in Florida has been identified, officials say

May 15, 2024, 1:24 PM

MIAMI (AP) — Investigators have identified the man who was operating the boat that fatally struck a 15-year-old girl off a South Florida beach and then left the area, but no criminal charges have been filed, according to a report released Wednesday.

The 78-year-old man owns the Coral Gables home where Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers found and seized the docked boat Tuesday afternoon. The man was the only occupant in the boat at the time of Saturday’s hit-and-run crash that left Ella Adler dead, according to the commission’s report.

A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesperson said the investigation was active and they couldn’t speculate on what charges might be filed.

Adler and another girl were wakeboarding behind a 42-foot (13-meter) Hanse Fjord walk-around near Key Biscayne, just south of Miami, on Saturday afternoon before falling off at different spots, officials said. A dozen people had been on the boat pulling Adler. Before the vessel could return to collect her, Adler was hit by another boat, which immediately sped away, officials said. Witnesses described the hit-and-run craft as a center console boat with a light blue hull, multiple white outboard engines and blue bottom paint.

A funeral service for Adler was held Monday morning at Temple Beth Sholom in Miami Beach. Adler was a freshman at Ransom Everglades School in Coconut Grove and a ballerina with the Miami City Ballet.

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Boat operator who fatally struck a 15-year-old girl in Florida has been identified, officials say