Sunday, October 21, 2018
Public safety

Report: Before fatal crash on Little Manatee River, captains made futile attempts to change course

RUSKIN — On a clear, cool morning in February, two small boats on a collision course sliced through the calm waters of the Little Manatee River.

Arthur D. Showley sat in the back of a 16-foot Sea Nymph, steering the aluminum boat west using the tiller on an outboard engine. Meanwhile, Steven Boomer piloted a 19-foot fiberglass Sundance from the center console, heading east.

The two captains made futile efforts to change course before colliding in a violent crash that killed Showley, 75, and injured other passengers in the boats.

The new details of the Feb. 23 incident are included in a final report obtained by the Tampa Bay Times through a public records request.

Boomer, 59, of Ruskin was later cited for violating navigational rule 14, which requires boats approaching from the opposite direction to steer to their respective starboard, or right side, to avoid a collision, according to the report. Had he survived, Showley would have been cited for the same violation.

The crash happened about 8:20 a.m. near the mouth of the river, east of Shell Point Marina. The two captains tried to avoid a collision, "making several alterations to course upon seeing each other in the head-on situation," FWC Investigator William Freemon wrote in the report.

The Sundance ramped over the starboard side of Showley’s boat, traveled along the craft’s gunwale and struck the two other men on board, David Sheppard and Edwin White. White was knocked into the water. The bow of Boomer’s boat then hit Showley on the right side of his neck, throwing him into the river, too.

Investigators estimated the boats were traveling between 21 and 40 mph at the time of the crash.

Boomer jumped in to help Showley, who was face up in the water, unresponsive. The report says he suffered a spinal cord injury and cuts to his aorta and carotid artery, but the cause of death is listed as drowning.

Sheppard, 81, of Nova Scotia was treated at the hospital for contusions on his arm and shoulder. White, 65, was also treated at the hospital for contusions and cuts on his arm and chest. Boomer and his passenger, 61-year-old Thomas Nicol, escaped injury.

Boomer declined to comment when reached by phone.

Showley was a retired farmer from Kewanna, Ind., a town of about 600 people, according to an obituary. He spent about half the year in the Tampa Bay area and the rest in Indiana.

A former county commissioner in Fulton County, Ind., Showley had been married to his wife, Dorothy, for 52 years at the time of his death. The couple had three children and four grandchildren.

"His Indiana family, friends, and strangers alike enjoyed the produce from his garden and fruit trees, while his Florida neighbors delighted in eating the abundant quantities of fish he pulled from Tampa Bay," the obituary said. "To the Red Cross he donated his blood regularly, to St. Anne’s Food Pantry in Ruskin he donated his time weekly, and to the Habitat for Humanity of Fulton County he donated his skill faithfully."

Contact Tony Marrero at tmarrero@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3374. Follow @tmarrerotimes.

 
Comments
FHP: Pedestrian, 70, hit and killed in Brandon

FHP: Pedestrian, 70, hit and killed in Brandon

BRANDON — A 70-year-old woman was hit and killed crossing State Road 60 on Saturday night, troopers reported.Mary J. Philip, of New Port Richey, was walking across the road near Mount Carmel Road about 11:11 p.m., according to the Florida Highway Pat...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
TPD: Man driving wrong way on Selmon Expressway with lights off kills 68-year-old

TPD: Man driving wrong way on Selmon Expressway with lights off kills 68-year-old

TAMPA — Police said a man driving recklessly and affected by alcohol headed the wrong way on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway and hit and killed another driver early Sunday morning.Shortly after midnight, Stephen Joseph Paleveda, 27, was driving a Ford ...
Updated: 12 minutes ago
FHP: Pedestrian, 87, hit and killed crossing State Road 52

FHP: Pedestrian, 87, hit and killed crossing State Road 52

PORT RICHEY — A driver hit and killed a pedestrian on State Road 52 near Bayonet Point, troopers reported.About 5:49 p.m., the pedestrian, 87-year-old Daniel William Troy, was walking north across the road, east of Meadow Drive.At the same time, Chri...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Woman, 20, killed by falling palm tree on Egmont Key

ST. PETERSBURG — A 20-year-old woman died Saturday afternoon at Egmont Key Park when a palm tree fell on her, according to Hillsborough deputies.Isabel Melendez was lying in a hammock about 4 p.m. on the island, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Offi...
Published: 10/20/18
Homicide victim found lying off Dale Mabry/ Busch is 34-year-old man, deputies say

Homicide victim found lying off Dale Mabry/ Busch is 34-year-old man, deputies say

TAMPA — A homicide victim found lying alongside Dale Mabry Highway and Busch Boulevard on Friday afternoon has been identified as Michael Andrew Montalbano, 34, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.Investigators said only that Montalb...
Published: 10/20/18
CrossFit worker, 16, stabbed during robbery attempt outside Tarpon Springs gym

CrossFit worker, 16, stabbed during robbery attempt outside Tarpon Springs gym

TARPON SPRINGS — A Spring Hill teen has been arrested in the stabbing of another teen during a robbery attempt outside a gym where the victim worked.Dedson Hallon Suas, 17, faces a charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and attempte...
Published: 10/20/18
Drunk driver hits 11 vehicles on I-275, including state trooper's car. No one hurt

Drunk driver hits 11 vehicles on I-275, including state trooper's car. No one hurt

ST. PETERSBURG — A drunk driver collided with 11 vehicles along a five-mile stretch of Interstate 275 before he was arrested as he was stopped in traffic after exiting into downtown, the Florida Highway Patrol said.No one one was injured in th...
Published: 10/20/18
Romano: Has ‘stand your ground’ made Florida more tolerant of deadly force?

Romano: Has ‘stand your ground’ made Florida more tolerant of deadly force?

In another era, in another state, the video might be too unsettling to watch. A suspected shoplifter is looking for a way to slip past a Lakeland store owner who is holding a gun. The shoplifter gets one hand on the door at the same time the store o...
Published: 10/20/18
Woman, 25, faces murder charge in Tampa shooting, stabbing death

Woman, 25, faces murder charge in Tampa shooting, stabbing death

TAMPA — A 25-year-old Brandon woman was arrested on Thursday in connection with the Sept. 30 murder of Justin Heilig in Hyde Park, according to Tampa police.Melissa McNutt faces charges of first-degree murder and armed robbery, police said.Heilig, 34...
Published: 10/19/18
Updated: 10/20/18
Lakeland commissioner charged with murder in shooting of suspected shoplifter

Lakeland commissioner charged with murder in shooting of suspected shoplifter

LAKELAND — A Lakeland city commissioner surrendered Friday to face a second-degree murder charge in the Oct. 3 fatal shooting of a suspected shoplifter at a military surplus store.Michael Dunn, who has served on the City Commission since January, arr...
Published: 10/19/18
Updated: 10/20/18