Uncle charged in water crash that pinned 4-year-old to boat

Published May 25, 2007

A Tampa man faces a misdemeanor charge in the Sunday afternoon water scooter accident that critically injured his 4-year-old niece.

Ariel Jesus Garcia, 40, was trying to stop his water scooter when he accidently hit Trinity Mycel Stivers, pinning her against the swim platform of the family's boat.

The girl is expected to survive but remains hospitalized in critical condition, Tampa police spokesman Laura McElroy said Thursday.

Garcia "was going too fast, too close to the boat and lost control of the boat and nearly killed the girl," McElroy said.

Garcia is charged with careless operation of a vessel with injuries, a misdemeanor. Police had been waiting to file charges until they knew whether the child would survive the accident.

The Stivers family could not be reached for comment Thursday.

According to the Coast Guard, careless operation was the most common cause of boating accidents and excessive speed was the third most common cause of accidents in 2005, the most recent year for which statistics are available.

Sarah Mishkin can be reached at smishkin@sptimes.com or (813) 225-3110.