FWC continues probe of fatal boat crash

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TONY JUDNICH @Tonyjnwfdn

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is still investigating last week’s fatal boating accident near Crab Island.

The accident, which occurred about 12:42 a.m. July 19, was alcohol-related and charges are pending against the boat’s operator, 34-year-old Jackie C. Mott of Valparaiso,  according to an FWC report.

Boat passenger Anthony J. Jarab, who the FWC listed as a 34-year-old from Niceville, lost part of one of his legs and died after the 22-foot fishing vessel crashed into a channel marker in Choctawhatchee Bay.

Two other passengers — 18-year-old Madison R. William of Niceville and 32-year-old Amber Doolan of Dripping Spring, Texas — suffered minor injuries.

Jarab, who was sitting on the bow of the boat, “was thrown onto the deck near the center console” and “his leg was amputated around the knee” in the collision, the FWC report states.

Following the crash, a diver from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office “assisted the FWC with a search for any evidence in connection with (the) fatal boating accident,” Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Michele Nicholson said Wednesday.

She referred other questions to the FWC. Rob Klepper, public information coordinator for the FWC’s Law Enforcement Division, said the leg has not been recovered. He declined further comment, citing the ongoing investigation.

Before the accident occurred, the boat had left Destin Harbor and was headed into the bay.

“As they passed Crab Island and began to accelerate, the operator yelled for (Jarab and a woman seated on the bow) to come off of the bow,” a FWC investigator stated in the report. “Shortly after that (the boat) struck a channel marker.”

Jarab died at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center. The woman who had been seated on the bow suffered a cut on her chin, and the other woman, who had been seated behind the center console, suffered a dislocated elbow. Both women were treated and released from the hospital.

An official at the District 1 Medical Examiner’s Office in Fort Walton Beach said Wednesday that the autopsy report on Jarab has not been completed.

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