Four Teen-Agers Killed In Boat AccidentAP , Associated Press
May. 28, 1989 11:13 PM ET
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH, FLA. INDIAN ROCKS BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ Four teen-agers aboard a 14-foot motorboat were killed when a 38-foot racing boat rammed them on the Intracoastal Waterway, authorities said Sunday.
A witness to Saturday's accident said the larger boat accelerated as it cleared the Indian Rocks Beach Bridge, hit the side of the 14-foot boat carrying five people, then continued on over the top of it.
''It sounded like plastic breaking - a lot of it,'' said bridge tender A.J. Couturier.
Pronounced dead at the scene were Jeffrey Nash, 19, and Jan Christman, in her late teens, both of Clearwater, said Indian Rocks police Sgt. J.T. Gannon.
Initially reported as missing were Rick Weeks, 19, and Todd Kuhn, 19, both from the Clearwater area. Divers from the Florida Marine Patrol searched through the night and recovered both bodies Sunday, said FMP Investigator Dan Sievers.
A 17-year-old male passenger, James LeCher of Clearwater, was in serious but stable condition at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg on Sunday after surgery for internal injuries.
The five passengers on the racing boat were not injured.
The driver of that boat, William LaTorre, his wife, son and two friends of the boy were taken to Largo Medical Center for counseling, said Brenda Smith, a Medic One spokeswoman.
Nathan Galliher, a boater who saw the accident, said LaTorre's racing boat passed him south of the bridge at about 20 mph.
''Just after the boat passed under the bridge, he just gunned the engines,'' Galliher said. ''He let it rip. He was cranking.''
Couturier, the bridge tender, said LaTorre's boat ''created quite a wake'' when it speeded up after passing under the bridge. The smaller craft tried to maneuver out of the way but couldn't, Galliher said.
Evidence collected from the crash site, along with results of a blood- alcohol test given to LaTorre, will be handed over to the State Attorney's Office, authorities said.
No charges have been filed yet in the accident.