On Sunday, September 1st, a fatal boating accident claimed the life of
Joshua Griffin, 29 of Land-O-Lakes. Griffin was riding on a boat piloted
by his brother, Jeffrey-Jeremiah, 32, along with a friend, Denelle Walicke,
25, when it struck a channel marker shortly before midnight close to the
shore of Port Richey. Griffin was ejected from the 22 ft. Boston Whaler
at the time of impact, just yards from the Hooters Boat Ramp.
Officials reported that two others were out on the boat at night following
another excursion earlier that day in which the two brothers had been
boating with family members and celebrating their sister’s birthday.
The father of the victim, Jeff Griffin, said, “My sons were bonded
together. They were joined at the hip. Jeremy’s just devastated.
This is his best friend.” Jeff explained that his son, Jeffrey-Jeremiah,
had been performing CPR on his brother until emergency responders arrived.
They were able to contact authorities while still afloat, after pulling
Joshua back aboard.
Accident investigators believed that Griffin was thrown from the boat and
collided with the channel marker just after the boat’s front right
side struck the marker. The boat was believed to have been travelling
between 25 to 45 mph at the time of the impact, but was able to return
to shore under its own power. Pasco Fire Rescue met the ailing, but afloat
vessel as it returned to shore. A blood sample was drawn from Jeffery-Jeremiah
Griffin, but investigators did not comment on whether alcohol contributed
to the accident. Joshua Griffin was pronounced dead at the scene at 12:15am
on Monday morning.
About two years ago, Joshua Griffin ran for Pasco County Commission, but
lost in the primary race to opponent Kathryn Starkey. Friends said the
Griffin had aspirations of making another run for political office down
the road, after building more experience and earning a law degree over
the next few years. Griffin’s parents, Jeff and Danielle, regularly
attended local political functions and had an active interest in local
Townsend, a family friend, had nothing but positive remarks as he expressed
grief over Griffin’s unfortunate death. “He was always smiling,
that’s just the way he was. He had a smile on his face. We told
him he was young and had his whole life ahead of him.” Griffin worked
in his family’s business as an IT Project Manager and was a graduate
of the University of Tampa.
In a public statement, an official from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission reiterated how this tragedy serves as a sad reminder for recreational
boaters during the warm-weather holidays.
“A lot of people during a holiday weekend don’t pay attention,
they are out having a good time and relaxing and that’s when bad
things can happen,” said Baryl Martin, Conservation Initiative Officer,