20 year old Australian Tyson Dagley has been charged with third degree negligent homicide following his involvement in a jet ski crash that killed a 16-year-old girl in Keehi Lagoon, Honolulu. According to an article in The Hawkesbury Gazettethe incident occurred on 5 August while Dagley was riding a hired jet ski at a speed of approximately 64-72km/h. The article reported that Dagley’s girlfriend was filming the ride from the nearby dock and captured the collision on video. The police retrieved footage from the camera revealing Dagley standing on the jet ski moments before the crash. Local media reports referred to in the Hawkesbury Gazetteindicated that Dagley had not been watching where he was going. He hit Californian teenager Kristen Fonseca's jet ski from behind. According to the Sydney Morning Herald she suffered a head injury and died the next day. In addition to criminal charges, Dagley also faces a civil lawsuit filed by Fonseca's family. Discussing the claim, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Fonseca’s stepfather said, "he (Dagley) was being negligent and he knows that.” Aloha Jet Ski Rentals was also named as a defendant in the civil proceedings.
Following the incident, Dagley spent 12 days in jail before being released on bail costing the family US$100,000. The Australian reported that he pleaded no contest on the misdemeanour charges in Circuit Court Honolulu. Dagley returned to court on 5 September where, according to the Courier Mail, he was sentenced to time already served and released. The court held that Dagley must additionally pay $US78,000 to the Fonseca family and remain subject to probation arrangements in Australia.
In an interview on the Seven Network's Today Tonight, Dagley expressed remorse stating, “I'd give anything for her to be back...In the end, I'd rather it be me than her." The Hawkesbury Gazette reported that Dagley’s lawyer, Walter Rodby, said that ''he wasn't intoxicated. There was no malice. There was no intent. It was simply an accident” and described Dagley as being “heartbroken.”
Charges have also been laid against Dagley’s girlfriend for allegedly hindering the prosecution by deleting footage of the accident from her camera.
This tragedy highlights the safety risks associated with recreational water activities. It also demonstrates the potentially irreversible, life altering consequences of a negligent act in a single moment. The importance of exercising care and diligence when operating equipment such as a jet ski cannot be overemphasised. This incident also teaches a lesson in the importance of maintaining focus and situational awareness, even when in “holiday mode.”