Prayers for young victim of boat accident

- Family and friends of a man killed in a boating accident over the weekend are mourning him, while praying his 4-year-old daughter makes a full recovery after she was critically injured in the crash.

Craig Butz, 52, and his daughter, Teagan, were on a water scooter near the Intercoastal Waterway off of Clearwater Beach on Saturday when they collided with a 34-foot boat.

Two days later, loved ones were trying to grasp the loss.

"You don't want to believe it. But you immediately focus on what you can do for those that are suffering the most," said Jeff Skrowronek, chairman of Pepin Academies and one of Butz's closest friends. "He was down to earth and real, but passionate and dedicated."

Butz was executive director of Pepin Academies. That's where Skrowronek got to know him well during Butz’s four-year tenure leading the charter school.

"He was a big-picture thinker and in four years he had an impact on this school that surpassed our 20-year existence," Skrowronek continued.

Florida Fish and Wildlife said it could take up to 45 days to determine what happened in the crash, so it's unclear if speed or alcohol were involved.

While friends try to come to terms with the loss, they're also coming together for Teagan, who was still in critical condition Monday, and also for her mother.

"I love that little munchkin so much and I can't stop thinking and just hoping that from here on in she’s going to be OK," Skrowronek told FOX 13. "You just start thinking about what you can do, knowing realistically there isn't much you can do."

"His daughter was the sparkle in his eye," added Natalie King, a spokesperson for Pepin Academies, adding she's cautiously optimistic Teagan will recovery because she's so much like her father, who had a short career as a professional hockey player.

"Her dad was a fighter. He was the enforcer on the ice and he has passed that fighting spirit on to his kids and I know that she knows what she needs to do to be here. Her mom needs her more than ever."

FWC identified the boat operator as Thomas Carey, 67, who is an attorney in Clearwater. FOX 13 contacted his firm where Jodi Leisure, another lawyer in his office, said Carey is "heartbroken and devastated over this and is really hopeful the little girl will make a full recovery."

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