Monday, May 23, 2005

Teen Boating Accident Victim Loved Water ....

Teen Boating Accident Victim Loved Water (Safety must go both ways...its everyone's responsibility) By ADAM EMERSON Published: May 23, 2005 MADEIRA BEACH - Corey Vincent was a water buff. She lived with her father, James Dowd, in a house on Boca Ciega Bay. She enjoyed watching the manatees and dolphins that surfaced in the bay, and spent much of her spare time following them. She wanted to go out on the water Saturday night, so she boarded a personal watercraft with a longtime friend from Connecticut who was visiting, Dowd said. About 6 p.m., the two were about 1/4-mile east of Johns Pass when a 29-foot powerboat crashed into them. The collision killed Vincent, 19, an aspiring massage therapist, and her companion, Joseph Battista, 23, of Clinton, Conn., who was to head back home Wednesday. When she was on the water, Vincent ``did all the right stuff,'' Dowd said. She wore her life preserver Saturday, as she always did, he said. She had finished boating safety classes last week. Battista, a paramedic in Connecticut, was ``a real sweetheart of a guy,'' Dowd said. Investigators from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Sunday they had not yet determined the cause of the crash. They found alcohol aboard the powerboat Saturday but do not know if it contributed to the accident, commission spokesman Gary Morse said. They drew blood from the boat's driver, Miguel Alvarado of 1702 Firewheel Drive in Wesley Chapel, to check for alcohol content, but results were pending Sunday, Morse said. Authorities have charged no one in the accident. There were at least two others aboard the powerboat. Alvarado could not be reached for comment Sunday. Investigators did not know Sunday whether Vincent or Battista was operating the personal watercraft at the time of the collision. All people aboard boats around John's Pass at that time are potential witnesses, Morse said. ``We've got quite a number of people to interview,'' he said. National Safe Boating Week started in Florida over the weekend. Crashes between vessels were among the leading types of accidents on Florida waters last year, according to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Web site. Reporter Adam Emerson can be reached at (727) 451-2332.

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