FWC Investigates Miami Teenager Ella Adler's Boating Collision Death | Miami New Times

FWC Releases Report on Boat Collision That Killed Miami Teen in Biscayne Bay

On the heels of the report's release, an attorney for the boater accused in the fatal collision denied the allegations of a hit-and-run.
Ella Adler, a student at Ransom Everglades School in Miami, was killed in a boat crash over Mother's Day weekend.
Ella Adler, a student at Ransom Everglades School in Miami, was killed in a boat crash over Mother's Day weekend. Screenshot via CBS Miami/YouTube
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A preliminary report released by Florida officials has provided new details on the boat collision that killed a 15-year-old Miami high school student after she fell into the water while wakeboarding near Key Biscayne.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) said Tuesday that it had identified the vessel that investigators believe fatally struck Ella Adler and then left the scene. The boat was seized from the Hammock Oaks neighborhood in Coral Gables.

Released Wednesday, FWC's preliminary report identifies 78-year-old Carlos Guillermo Alonso of Coral Gables as the operator of the boat at the time of the May 11 collision. The report provides a brief narrative of the crash and confirms that the "vessel of interest," Alonso's 42-foot Boston Whaler, is in FWC custody.

FWC says Alonso is cooperating with the investigation. According to Miami-Dade County records, he owns the property where investigators found and took possession of the boat before transporting it to an FWC evidence compound.

Speaking to media Wednesday, Alonso's lawyer, Lauren Field Krasnoff, denied the allegations of a hit-and-run.

"When the police came knocking, he did not know why. We're not sure if he was involved, but if he was, he absolutely did not know what had happened," the lawyer said.

According to the preliminary report, Adler and another person fell into the water at different locations while wakeboarding and wake-surfing around 4 p.m. on May 11, one mile west of Mashta Point. In initial statements, FWC had described Adler as a water-skier, but the report indicates Adler was in fact wakeboarding.

The boat towing Adler was a 42-foot Hanse Fjord vessel that had 13 occupants, FWC wrote.

While heading westbound in Biscayne Bay, Alonso's boat struck Adler, according to the report. Alonso, who was alone in his vessel, did not stop after the fatal collision, FWC says. The other vessel's occupants picked up the fatally wounded teenager and reported a description of Alonso's boat to law enforcement.

"As a father and grandfather, my heart is broken for the Adler family. Ella's death is devastating for her family, friends and the community at large," FWC chair Rodney Barreto said in a statement released Tuesday. "The FWC and our partner law enforcement agencies will not stop until we have all the answers, and the case is solved."

Citing the pending investigation, FWC declined to comment when New Times asked whether the boat operator fled the scene with knowledge the girl had been struck. The report indicates that as of the time of its publication, no arrest had been made.

According to CBS Miami, Barreto noted that investigators located Alonso's boat through "good-old fashioned police work" based on witness descriptions.

"We asked them to go up and down the canals from Coconut Grove to South Miami. They went up and down the canals with the physical description they had and recognized the boat," he said.

The granddaughter of Michael Adler, the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium, Ella Adler was a ballerina who had appeared in dozens of performances with the Miami City Ballet. She was a member of Ransom Everglades School's dance team, debate team, and Jewish Student Association.

The 15-year-old's family and classmates at Ransom Everglades School have been mourning her death this week. A service attended by hundreds was held at Temple Beth Sholom in Miami Beach on Monday.

"The world lost a star this weekend. Ella was beautiful and shined brightly. In her 15 years, she gave us more light than we could have ever dreamed," Adler's family said in a statement.
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