PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Pensacola Police say the driver of a pickup truck involved in a fatal inner tube accident at Community Maritime Park last week drove recklessly and ignored safety warnings before his friend was killed.
Christian Garner, 18, was killed on April 30 after being pulled behind a pickup truck while onboard an inner tube floating in a retention pond at the park.
Pensacola Police say 20-year-old Joseph “Brooks” Squirewell backed up his truck to the edge of the roadway near the pond, accelerated and drove the truck “too far and too fast and pulled the inner tube out of the pond.”
“This caused Garner to be thrown from the inner tube and land in the parking lot where he suffered severe trauma to the head and neck,” Squirewell’s arrest report said.
Police say they reviewed surveillance footage that showed Garner was thrown from the inner tube as it left the water and collided with the grass embankment. Garner died on the scene from his injuries.
Before the incident, police said Squirewell was driving recklessly while doing “donuts” in the parking lot at the park. It appeared on surveillance footage he almost hit someone, police said.
Witnesses told police Squirewell was warned several times about the dangers of driving recklessly and pulling Garner on the inner tube.
“(Squirewell) was told numerous times by multiple people that he needed to drive slowly and be cautious due to the embankment and the parking lot,” the report said. “He was aware of the dangers associated with this act, and he ignored those warnings … During this incident, (Squirewell) exhibited a pattern of reckless driving behavior, which demonstrated a lack of care … as well as a grossly careless disregard for the safety and welfare of the public.”
Squirewell was charged with negligent manslaughter and booked about 6:30 p.m. Thursday. He was released about 15 minutes later on a $25,000 bond.