PCSO: Man suffers life-threatening injuries after personal watercraft collides with boat in Dunedin

Pinellas County deputies are investigating after a man was hospitalized following a collision between a personal watercraft and a boat Saturday morning near the Dunedin Causeway.

According to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, David Steffano, 56, was operating a 28-foot Chaparral Bowrider traveling eastbound alongside the Dunedin Causeway, with five passengers on board, when he saw someone on a personal watercraft traveling north to south at a high rate of speed. 

Steffano said he thought the personal watercraft would travel behind his vessel. Due to heavy water traffic, Steffano said he turned his attention to the port side of his boat and that’s when the personal watercraft struck the rear of his vessel throwing Jose Rivera-Reyes into the water. 

Steffano told deputies he immediately stopped his boat, helped Rivera-Reyes out of the water and called 911.

According to PCSO, both vessels and all occupants went to the closest boat ramp located at 343 Causeway Boulevard in Dunedin.

Paramedics and deputies responded to the boat ramp and took Rivera-Reyes to Mease Hospital in Dunedin with life-threatening injuries. 

No passengers on the boat were injured. 

Deputies say speed appears to be a factor in the crash.

The crash is under investigation. 

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