09-04-2007, 07:15 PM #1
Hit-and-run boaters still on the loose
Hit-and-run boaters still on the loose
Miner Staff Writer
Labor Day weekend is always a busy time on waterways for boaters and jet ski enthusiasts.
Marilyn Moore of Golden Valley is hoping it will not turn into a time of tragedy as it did for her Aug. 9.
Barry Pendley, 46, her son, and grandson Dylan Pendley, 8, were riding separate jet skis on the Colorado River near Topock. A boat traveling at high speed slammed into Barry, its wake nearly knocking Dylan into the water as well.
Two people, a man and woman, aboard the speeding boat briefly turned back to see Barry's lifeless body floating in the river. They then headed south toward Lake Havasu, leaving an ongoing death investigation to the San Bernardino (Calif.) Sheriff's Department.
Mike Norman of Mira Loma, Calif., witnessed the accident. He and his wife were beginning a four-day vacation and were cruising south toward Lake Havasu at about 35 miles per hour in their 27-foot Hallett speedboat.
"We were heading down the river and I noticed on the Arizona side a Fountain speedboat was on shore and starting to back up," Norman said. "Further down there were two boats on the California side when we came upon two jet skiers.
"The guy was standing up and the kid was kneeling. I thought he looked pretty young, so I veered to the right to give them the right of way."
"As we drew even with the two boats on the California shoreline, I hear this noise behind us and turn to see the white Fountain cut between the two jet skis. I saw Barry thrown into the water and the boy nearly knocked off his jet ski.
"I glanced up to see the Fountain continue past me. The driver backed off the throttle and looked back, then hit full throttle and sped away."
Norman said he immediately turned around and went to Barry Pendley. He jumped into the river and it was shallow enough at the spot so he could stand up, turn Pendley over and hold his head up out of the water while beginning compressions and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Another boater and off-duty sheriffs' deputy came out from shore to assist Norman, but he said Pendley already was dead.
"The boat occupants left Dylan to see his father's mangled, bloody body," Moore said. "Can you imagine anyone on earth that would let a little boy see that and perhaps drown too, and then run from the scene?"
Norman described the people in the boat that sped off as white and in their late 20s or early 30s.
He described the boat as 27-30 feet in length with a mainly white hull and red striped cap. It had a stripe down the side starting at the bow that became 10-12 inches wide further back, the word "Fountain" plus a thunderbolt logo.
Neither the boat nor its occupants has been found.
Moore said she spoke with a man, who initially told her he saw a boat of that description in a friend's boat yard in Lake Havasu City who worked on the Fountain. He later recanted his story, leaving her to wonder if some conspiracy was afoot.
Denise Pendley of Oak Hills, Calif., is Dylan's mother and Pendley's ex-wife. She is not pleased with the direction and speed of the investigation.
"I talked with one deputy and asked him a bunch of questions," she said. "Did they bring in a sketch artist? How sure are they the boat is a Fountain? Are we looking for the wrong boat?
"Were all docks notified immediately to watch for someone pulling a boat out of the water? There are only a certain number of launch points where bigger boats can be put into or taken out of the water."
"He told me I needed to talk with someone else, so I put in other calls and have not gotten any call backs. I've talked to the sheriff's office only twice in order to give them time for their investigation."
"I want questions answered now. This boat already should have been found."
Witness accounts lead her to believe the Fountain was traveling about 75 mph at the moment of impact.
Pendley said she also has spoken with Norman. He is working with someone connected with the hotboats Web site to post a composite drawing of the Fountain on that site for all to see in hopes it will provide the piece of information needed to solve the case.
Moore also is disappointed with the lack of progress in the case.
"A Fountain was spotted in Newport Beach (Calif.) with what looked like damage to its hull," Moore said. "But the people could not get the vessel number or license plate of the trailer.
"Private citizens are looking for the boat."
Deputy Rick Croonquist of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department is handling the investigation. He said no suspects have yet been identified.
"We're chasing down leads daily," he said. "We're awaiting word from Fountain on boats sold on the West Coast and have had items about it in the Lake Havasu and Needles newspapers."
Moore speculated the Fountain has been hauled away, is covered up in a garage or may have been deliberately sunk.
Croonquist said he doubts the boat was sunk, as it sells for $200,000 to $300,000. He believes it is in a garage or stored somewhere, and area storage owners have cooperated in the search for it.
Anyone with information on the boat or its occupants that day should call the Needles office of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department at (760) 326-9200 and ask for Croonquist or the detective on duty.
Croonquist said his agency was the first law enforcement organization on the scene after Pendley's death, so it is handling the investigation. He added his department has concurrent jurisdiction with the Mohave County Sheriff's Office, which means either department has jurisdiction from high water mark to high water mark, plus 25 air miles into the adjoining state.
"All I know is that there has been too much blood shed in the Colorado River," Moore said. "We have a big boating weekend coming up where some people will get drunk or high and start to talk. I'd hate to see another family go through this."
Pendley re-contacted the Miner on Wednesday and said fliers with a description of the Fountain are being prepared for distribution along the river this weekend.
09-04-2007, 07:44 PM #2
Man How can someone just take off like that.
09-04-2007, 08:05 PM #3
i found it on seadoo.net. I dont know how someone could be that heartless. thats some stone cold S#&*! I hope they catch these a$$holes!
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