Attorey charged with reckless boating
Winter Park Police said it looked like something out of an action movie. But it didn’t happen on the silver screen, it happened on Lake Maitland this weekend.
Officers arrested Winter Park resident and local attorney Kenneth Wright on Sunday after he allegedly led police on a high-speed boat chase across Lake Maitland.
Police responded to a call of a reckless boater at around 1:22 p.m. when they reportedly found Wright driving at high speeds in a red boat. Several witnesses claimed that he had nearly hit another boat earlier.
Officers told him to slow down, but Wright reportedly refused to comply, raising his middle finger to police instead.
“One of our residents from our neighboring area in Winter Park decided to go out on a boat and have a little fun,” said Sgt. Stan Locke at Tuesday’s Winter Park Lakes and Waterways Advisory Board meeting.
“While the officers were trying to talk to him from the shoreline, he just kept riding back around and telling them they were number one, but with his middle finger.”
Winter Park Police gave Wright three verbal warnings before contacting the Maitland Police Department, who had officers on hand to operate police boats.
Maitland Police pursued Wright by boat heading toward the shore near the Winter Park Racquet Club. The suspect reportedly sped off and aimed his boat at a dock filled with residents while driving full speed before slamming it in reverse, jumping onto the dock and fleeing on foot.
“He gunned his boat toward the shoreline and there were people around in that area,” Locke said. “He docked in a movie-style maneuver, exited the boat and started running…”
Winter Park and Maitland Police were able to track Wright down near a pool, taze him and arrest him.
He faces charges of attempted aggravated battery, eluding police in a boat, resisting an officer and reckless operation of a vessel.
Under the Winter Park Police Department’s current system, officers patrol Winter Park’s lakes for six hour blocks every Saturday and Sunday from April to September. During the other months however, police only take the boats out on an as-need basis.
The Lakes and Waterways Board questioned whether that window of patrols should be extended, having heard that the police response to Wright’s reckless boating took around 40 minutes.
Locke told the board that it’s a budget issue that should be taken up with the police chief, as more time on the lake counts as overtime pay for officers.
Board Member Steve DiClemente said Tuesday’s incident was likely an anomaly and that the city shouldn’t be concerned.
Regardless, Locke admitted to the board it wasn’t something you see every day.
“That’s not the proper way to behave,” Locke said.