The parents of a California teenager who died on vacation in Hawaii when her jet ski was struck by another being operated by an Australian tourist are suing that tourist.
Kristen Fonseca, 16, was jet skiing on August 5 at Keehi Lagoon in Honolulu when her watercraft was hit. The rider of the jet ski that hit Kristen was Tyler Dagley of Australia.
The girl died the following day of her injuries, and Dagley, 20, was charged with third-degree criminal homicide, a misdemeanor.
“He was just speeding really fast and then just came up and just slammed right into her,” Kristen’s sister Monique Sanchez told ABC News.
Sanchez, along with Kristen’s mother and stepfather Mario Canton, were present when the accident happened.
“I then saw her head lunge forward, and hit the steering wheel, Kristen then, fell forward, fell back and then fell into the water,” Cantol said.
Investigators have said Dagley was driving recklessly, was standing up and not paying attention to where he was going, and that he was showing off for his girlfriend.
That girlfriend, Natasha Ryan, 21, has also been charged by police, but she is not named in the lawsuit. Authorities say she videotaped the entire incident and then deleted it in an attempt to cover it up.
In a court appearance, Dagley sobbed.
“I prayed every day to the family, and prayed that everything was going to be okay,” he said.
The Cantons’ lawsuit alleges that Dagley was reckless and negligent when he was operating the jet ski. The suit also names Aloha Jet Ski Rentals, the company that rented the watercraft to Kristen and Dagley, as a co-defendant.
The court papers allege that an Aloha Jet Ski Rentals employee failed to properly instruct Dagley in the correct use of the jet ski, and that the employee did nothing to prevent Dagley’s reckless behavior.
The lawsuit mentions that the family suffered emotional pain and suffering, and had incurred significant medical costs for Kristen’s care. The suit seeks unspecified damages and attorney’s fees.
Dagley’s father, Alan, said he feels for Kristen’s family, but added that what happened was a tragic accident.
“He’s a great kid, doesn’t do anything wrong,” Dagley’s father said, speaking of his son.
Dagley’s attorney, Walter Rodby, said in a statement that his client had suffered “permanent physical disfigurement” as a result of the incident and was in the hospital for three nights and four days.
“I believe that Tyson would do whatever it would take, to simply turn back the hands of time, if it would bring Kristen back,” Rodby’s statement noted.
Evangaline and Mario Canton had taken Kristen to Hawaii as a reward for the good grades she had earned in school.
“She loved Hawaii, she loved the islands, um and she loved going to the beach,” Canton told ABC News. “We have a huge hole in our family, and all taken away from us in a split second because of an individual who was negligent in the use of that wave runner.”
Sanchez says she is devastated by the loss of her sister. ”I’m waiting for her to walk down the stairs, it’s just heartbreaking,” she said.
Calls made by ABC News to Aloha Jet Ski for comment on the situation were unreturned.
The Associated Press reported that a Honolulu judge denied Dagley’s request to reduce his $100,000 bail at his arraignment Tuesday.
Dagley is due back in court on August 23.