Miss GEICO and CatCanDo involved in fatal crash at powerboat races
Nicole Hayden, Times Herald
Updated 9:14 p.m. ET July 30, 2017
(Photo: NICOLE HAYDEN/TIMES HERALD)
The St. Clair River Classic offshore powerboat races came to an abrupt stop Sunday after two powerboats collided, leading to one fatality.
The two boats involved in the crash were American Ethanol CatCanDo and Miss GEICO, both from the Extreme division, said St. Clair County Sheriff Marine Division Lt. Paul Reid.
Reid could not confirm the name of the deceased racer though. Reid said the man was transported to St. John River District Hospital in East China Township where he was pronounced dead.
Reid said other racers had minor injuries but were not transported to the hospital.
St. Clair County Sheriff Sgt. Scott Jones said the crash happened around 5:30 p.m. Jones said the race was black-flagged, or cut short, following the accident.
Reid said the crash occurred in the north turn of the race, but does not yet know what led to the crash. Both boats were removed from the water and loaded on trailers to allow investigators to start analyzing the events. As of Sunday evening, investigators were interviewing boat drivers and taking photos of the involved vessels.
St. Clair Police Chief Rick Jefferson said the crash happened during one of the last races of the day.
The incident is still under investigation.
Prior to the crash
Prior to the crash, the event was a family-friendly affair not just for local fair-goers, but for racers as well.
Many boats had father-son duos while there was one spousal team.
Jason Saris, 60, of New York, races a 32-foot Cobra powerboat with his son Johnny, 24. While Jason began racing in 1982, his son soon followed suit once he turned 16.
“It’s awesome racing with my son,” Jason said. “There are not too many parents that get to do that with their kid. It’s an activity that we can continue to do together even as he gets older…It gives us mutual respect for each other too. Everyone loves their family, but not too many are this hands-on and able to see what the other is able to accomplish so closely.”
While Jason handles the throttle, his son drives the boat – an experience, Jason says, is all about focus, concentration and team work.
About 35 teams came to participate in the race hailing from across the country. Teams traveled in from New York, New Jersey, Maine, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, among others.
Frank Vecce, Offshore Powerboat Association official, said St. Clair continues to be an excellent site to race at and doesn’t have a bad seat in the house.
Noah Krug, 4, of Croswell, was most excited to see the Batman boat race by. He even brought his Batman sunglasses to show his support.
While he loves Batman, Noah said he does not like the bad guys that Batman fights.
Noah’s parents, Jeff and Robin, bring both of their kids to the powerboat races every year because they feel it is a good family activity.
“I like it because it’s fun and out of the norm and a once-a-year-thing that is different for them,” Robin said. “He just wanted to see the Batman boat.”
Joe Meglino, of New Jersey, races with two others on the Jersey Outlaw, a 29-foot Scarab powerboat. Meglino said they enjoy coming to St. Clair each year because the city welcomes the teams and crews like family.
“People are great and hospitable and always welcome us,” he said.
Jarrett Correll, 20, of Ohio, traveled up to St. Clair for the weekend to support two of the racing teams. He said he has been an avid supporter of the sport and was first intrigued by the races because of how fast and powerful the boats are.
Correll’s cousin, Andrew Somers, 36, of Marysville, was watching the races for the first time. He said he comes for the concerts the night before, but was enjoying the sport as well.
ST. CLAIR, Mich. (WXYZ) - The St. Clair River Classic Offshore Powerboat Races came to a tragic end.
Two boats, The American Ethanol CatCanDo and Miss Geico, collided at about 4:40 pm Sunday.
The collision severely injured one man.
The victim was raced to St. John River District Hospital in East China Township where doctors eventually pronounced him dead.
Police say other boaters involved in the crash had minor injuries, but they were not hospitalized.
All boats were removed from the water and the race was halted.
Investigators are looking into the incident. I am sure that speed has something to do with this. Speed kills.