Calif. teen's family sues tourist, Aloha Jet Ski

August 14, 2012 - 9:35 PM

HONOLULU (AP) — The family of a 16-year-old California girl killed in a Hawaii watercraft crash is suing an Australian tourist charged with third-degree negligent homicide.

The lawsuit filed Monday in Circuit Court in Honolulu by Kristen Fonseca's family also names as a defendant Aloha Jet Ski, which rented the personal watercrafts that the Vacaville, Calif., girl and the Australian tourist were riding in Keehi Lagoon on Aug. 5. Fonseca died the next day.

The suit claims employees did nothing to prevent Tyson Dagley from driving recklessly. An employee who rented the watercraft to Fonseca's family and Dagley "failed to give any instructions or warnings about driving at excessive speeds" before turning over the watercraft to Dagley, the lawsuit states.

Company representatives didn't return calls for comment. Dagley's parents couldn't be reached Monday at the Honolulu hotel where they were staying.

A Honolulu judge denied Dagley's request to reduce his $100,000 bail at his arraignment Tuesday. He requested a jury trial on the misdemeanor charge. His next court date is Aug. 23.

Investigators say the 20-year-old was standing on his rented watercraft before it hit Fonseca's watercraft from behind. They say he was looking at his girlfriend, who was taking video and photos, and didn't pay attention to where he was going.

Defense attorney Walter Rodby called the bail "unreasonable," noting that his client isn't a flight risk because he surrendered his passport.

Dagley is a carpet cleaner from Crestmead who saved up for his dream vacation, Rodby said.

"He prays for the girl every day, every night," Rodby said, adding that Dagley suffered spinal injuries and a concussion in the crash. "He himself has not slept."

His girlfriend Natasha Ryan, 21, is charged with hindering his prosecution. She is free on $500 bail.

A police report said Ryan told investigators Dagley was sitting down and looking straight ahead before the collision, and that she didn't see the collision.

However, a forensic computer examiner recovered two deleted videos from the memory stick in Ryan's camera which showed the crash. The report said that in the video, Dagley appears to be standing on the watercraft.

Ryan is scheduled to appear in Honolulu District Court on Sept. 7 for the misdemeanor charge. Ryan is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit. Fonseca's parents are upset about an attempt to hide the footage, said their Honolulu attorney, Rick Fried.

The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount of damages, including medical and funeral expenses. Her mother and stepfather witnessed the crash and "have suffered horrible emotional pain, suffering and distress," the lawsuit said.