A Miami real estate broker who steered a boat into a Biscayne Bay channel marker, killing a 17-year-old passenger, will face two misdemeanor charges. The accident also left another teen permanently disabled.
George Pino, 52, has been charged with operation of a vessel causing death, as well as a charge of operating a vessel causing serious bodily injury, State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle Office announced Friday.
The crash occurred on Sept. 4, 2022 – Labor Day. A lawsuit says Pino was taking out a group of teenagerss to celebrate his daughter’s birthday.
“The driving pattern of the vessel, as clearly indicated by the boat’s onboard GPS system, and the fact that the boat operator was not impaired by drugs or alcohol while operating the vessel limited the criminal charges,” the state attorney’s office said in a statement.
Pino piloted the 29-foot Robalo vessel equipped with twin 300 horsepower engines that carried 11 Miami-area students and two adult passengers.
The boat collided with a visible channel marker in Cutter Bank near Ocean Reef Club in the Upper Keys while heading back to the dock, tearing a large hole in the hull and throwing many of its passengers in the water.
Luciana Fernandez was killed and Katherine Puig, also 17, was seriously injured.
An attorney for Puig’s family told the Miami Herald they were outraged that Pino was only charged with two misdemeanors.
“It seems that the FWC was unwilling to even explore the possibility that the operator of the vehicle was under the influence of alcoholic beverages to the extent that his normal faculties were impaired,” attorney Brent Reitman told the Herald.
FWC did not test Pino for alcohol at the scene of the accident, the newspaper reported.