Texting driver escaped from SUV after crashing into water, deputies say

- Deputies say they now know how an SUV wound up underwater in a Boca Ciega Bay marina, and they say texting and driving is to blame.

It was around 7 a.m. Saturday when deputies were called to the MarineMax Marina off Gulfport Boulevard in response to a Jeep Liberty submerged about 8 feet underwater.  On scene, investigators noted skid marks at the seawall and a brown electronics box.

The dive team entered the water, where they found the driver's window and back hatch window both open.  There was no one inside.

When deputies contacted the vehicle's owner, they say his 21-year-old son admitted he was texting and driving as he was heading home around 4:30 a.m. Saturday.  David Avery Hughes allegedly told detectives that he realized he'd missed his turn into his condo complex and instead turned into the marina and crashed into the water, then walked home.

Allen was cited for texting while driving and careless driving, and charged with leaving the scene of a crash.

Property damage at the marina was estimated to cost $2,000.

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