Man, 23, hurt on Conn. River faces charge of negligence following Jet Ski accident
HADLEY — State Environmental Police plan to bring a charge of negligent operation of a boat against a 23-year-old Springfield man who was injured in an accident on the Connecticut River near the Oxbow Saturday afternoon.
Police said Niko Lee Rodriguez lost control of a personal watercraft he was riding, said to be a Jet Ski, and injured himself when he made impact with the vessel on the river around 2 p.m.
He was picked up in the water by boaters and taken to Mitch’s Marina in Hadley, where emergency responders from Amherst and Hadley had arrived. Rodriguez was taken by ambulance to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield and his injuries were classified by Environmental Police as nonlife-threatening.
The boaters who picked up Rodriguez in the river said they witnessed him jumping waves from the wake of their boat and saw him flying in the air at one point and then coming down, striking the personal watercraft with his head, according to Phil Brocklesby, an employee of Mitch’s Marina who spoke with the boaters about the accident when they brought Rodriguez to shore.
“They did see him come down and hit the Jet Ski with his head,” Brocklesby said. “The fellow was lucky.” Brocklesby said the boaters reported that Rodriguez was initially floating face down in the water in his life jacket, which then righted him, before they got to him and pulled him aboard.