Boat Driver Arrested After Propellers Kill 4-Year-Old Girl, Cause Father To Lose Both Legs

“He’s having a hard time understanding that he couldn’t save his little girl,” a family member said about the father, who lost both legs trying to save her.

By Gina Tron

A man has been charged with criminal negligent homicide after a 4-year-old girl was killed by a houseboat and her dad lost her legs trying to save her.

Jason Bernal, 44, of Killeen, Texas was arrested and held over the weekend in jail before posting bail and being released, according to the Associated Press.

Katlyn Oliver on died Friday after suffering severe lacerations from the propeller of the three-story boat. Her 37-year-old father, Patrick Oliver, had his legs amputated after he was injured trying to save his daughter. He is in serious condition.

“He’s having a hard time understanding that he couldn’t save his little girl,” Adrianna DeLeon, the girl’s aunt, told KWTX. “When he’s awake his heart rate gets too high because of how upset he is.”

The large houseboat backed into Katlyn and Patrick, despite shouts for the boat to stop, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. Bernal, boatdriver, told authorities “he put his boat into reverse and backed up his boat when someone told him to stop,” according to that affidavit. He said he couldn’t see behind him, because of the boat’s height.

A witness told officers that “the boat was in full throttle while backing up,” according to KWTX.


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