Boating Death Sets Negative Tone For Holiday Weekend
The body of 31-year-old William Scott Wilkes was pulled from Little Sante Fe Fake at five o'clock this morning.
Deputies say Wilkes was on a 25-foot boat with three friends when he voluntarily jumped, and never resurfaced.
Search and rescue teams worked from six o'clock Friday evening, when they received the call of a possible drowning, until eight this morning.
Lt. Steve Maynard was one of 65 law enforcement and fire rescue officials working overnight to recover Wilkes' body. There was a reported 75 family members who held an overnight vigil during the search.
Officials on scene say Wilkes' brother was driving, when he playfully jumped from the boat that was going approximately 35 miles an hour, he never surfaced. Investigators won't confirm if alcohol was involved, however, blood samples were taken at the scene.
Lt. Maynard says, "the reality of it is on busy holiday weekends both on our highways and our waterways we see tragedy and that's the reality of what we do."
The effort was conducted by dive teams and marine units from Alachua County, Bradford County Sheriff's Office, Clay County Sheriff's Office, Fish and Wildlife, and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. Maynard says it was Jacksonville's sonar equipment that located Wilkes' body and Alachua County's dive team who recovered him. His body was taken to the medical examiner's office to determine the actual cause of death.
As those celebrating the fourth , hit the waters and roads, law enforcement says they're prepared for a dangerous weekend.
William Wilkes' leaves behind a wife, a two and a half year old, and a three month old baby.
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