Widow sues tugboat operators in July 4 death of husband

MANATEE - Christie Soto, widow of Jose H. Medina who was killed on July 4 at Longboat Key Pass, has sued the tugboat operators in Manatee County Circuit Court.

The suit alleges that the tugboat operators violated federal law by obstructing navigable waters adjacent to Coquina Bayside Park and its public boat ramp. The Medina family, friends and children were enjoying the July 4th festivities within the park when Medina’s jet ski experienced mechanical difficulties approximately 25 yards from the picnic area, according to the lawsuit. As he was attempting to restart the jet ski, both the watercraft and himself were forced against the side of the moored tug and barge, and sucked underneath the barge where he was snagged by the barge’s undercarriage and heavy marine growth, according to the lawsuit.

The suit seeks an unspecified amount on behalf of Medina’s wife and five children.