Authorities probe Calif. lake crash that killed 3

AP News
Posted: Oct 17, 2011 1:43 AM
Authorities probe Calif. lake crash that killed 3

Authorities shut down a popular Southern California reservoir Sunday as they investigated a water craft collision that killed three women and injured four people.

Puddingstone Lake, a popular recreation spot in east Los Angeles County, would be closed at least through Monday while investigators try to recreate the Saturday collision of the three women on a Sea-Doo personal watercraft and four people on a 21-foot powerboat, officials said.

The dead include Maricon Yeso, 34, of Escondido, and her 59-year-old mother Aurora Yeso, coroner's Investigator Jerry McKibben said Sunday.

The Sheriff's Department said in a statement that the third woman was 47-year-old Anesia Bautista.

The sheriff's statement listed Aurora Yeso's age as 53. It was not clear why the age differed from the one given by the coroner's office.

All four people from the motorboat have been released from the hospital after being treated for minor injuries, the sheriff's statement said. The four names of the four, whose ages range from 22 to 36, have not been released.

Investigators have found the driver of the boat was not intoxicated, but they have yet to determine whether the women on the Sea-Doo were under the influence, the sheriff's statement said.

Witnesses said the boat appeared to strike the watercraft as each were making high-speed turns when they collided, according to Los Angeles County sheriff's Lt. Mike Rossen.

"My understanding is that the boat contacted the Sea-Doo," Rossen told KABC-TV. "I don't know if there was anybody that was at fault for not using the right directions on the lake or anything like that. That's going to come out in the investigation."

Boats on the lake are supposed to stay at least 25 feet apart, according to rules posted on the Internet by the city of San Dimas, where the reservoir is located.

The three women from the watercraft were declared dead at the scene by paramedics, county fire Inspector Matt Levesque said.

Three men from the boat were airlifted to hospitals, and a woman who was thrown into the water and rescued by lifeguards was taken to a hospital by ambulance.

The reservoir is inside Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park, some 30 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

It had not had a fatal accident in more than a decade, parks officials said.