Pierce County prosecutors on Monday held off on a decision on whether to file charges against a Tacoma man who on Saturday crashed into a boat near Point Defiance Park, leaving two people hospitalized and one of his passengers missing.
Joshua Puckett, 44, appeared in court Monday but will not be charged until at least Wednesday.
Prosecutors said they were waiting for more information on the alcohol-related crash, which happened about 11 p.m. on the Fourth of July on Commencement Bay.
Puckett was operating a 22-foot plastic Wellcraft boat with four people onboard when it hit a 17-foot aluminum Hewescraft boat carrying a man and woman.
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Police said Puckett’s craft was cruising about 18 miles per hour when the crash happened. There is no boating speed limit in the area where the boats collided.
Both people on the Hewescraft were seriously injured and taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. They are expected to survive.
Douglas Foster, a 47-year-old Portland man riding in Puckett’s boat, went missing after the accident and has not been found.
No one onboard the Wellcraft was wearing a life jacket, Tacoma police said.
After the collision, Puckett was arrested on suspicion of homicide by watercraft. He remains in custody.
Coast Guard crews searched 35 square miles overnight for Foster but suspended the search about 1 p.m. Sunday after finding no sign of him. The search could resume if credible information comes forward that Foster is still alive, the Coast Guard said.
Ariel Marino, a 31-year-old Tacoma man showed up in court Wednesday to watch, and talked to reporters after.
He said he saw the crash, which took place after boaters left following the Freedom Fair fireworks show.
“He kind of slid over them, the boat kind of slid over them,” he said. “You could just see sparks,” he said of the collision in the dark. “It was like a firework in itself.”