Victim speaks out after Brevard County watercraft accident

Watercraft slams into dock on Banana River

Local 6 News at 6:00p
Local 6 News at 6:00p

SATELLITE BEACH, Fla. – One month after a horrific crash sent a woman and her boyfriend to the hospital, a local teenager is opening up about what happened when the personal watercraft she was riding on slammed out of control right into a dock.

"I don't remember that morning," said Jamie Tewalt, a 19-year-old college sophomore. "I just remember waking up in the ICU a couple of days later."

Tewalt is no doubt very fortunate after what could've been a deadly crash. Last month, the personal watercraft she was riding on lost control and slammed into a dock on the Banana River near Satellite Beach. Her boyfriend, 19-year-old Ryan Meek, was driving.

"So, I hit the seawall and just slid down into the water and then into the dock. They didn't know I was there because I was under the dock face down in the water for a couple of minutes. It was pretty bad," Tewalt told Local 6 reporter Justin Warmoth exclusively Friday.

The dock's owner, who happens to be an Air Force rescue worker, ran outside to see what the commotion was. He then found Ryan in a pool of blood and Jamie face down in the water.

"I was in the water face down and he did CPR, I think. I don't know what to say besides thank you and I'll never be able to repay that debt," she said.

The crash sent both teens to the hospital in critical condition. Ryan suffered two broken legs, a broken jaw and severe head injuries. Jamie broke her pelvis, had lacerations on her kidneys, spleen and liver, and she tore her aorta.

Her mother, Laura, thought the worst.

"The surgeon said to us, 'This is something we don't do every day because most people who have this injury don't make it to the hospital'."

Jamie knows the recovery will be lengthy, she'll have to be in a wheelchair for about three months, but says this traumatic experience could've been a whole lot worse.

"I could be paralyzed. I could have a head injury like Ryan and have to be learning to do those things again," she said.

Ryan is at a hospital in Atlanta where he is in a semi-coma, but his mother says he's getting better.

Investigators with Florida Fish and Wildlife believe the throttle of the Yamaha watercraft, which belongs to Jamie's uncle, got stuck, but their investigation isn't finished.

Drugs and alcohol don't appear to have played a role in the accident, according to FWC. 

To donate to Ryan Meek, click here.

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