The father and son run over by a dive boat's propellers in August 2011 have filed a federal civil lawsuit against
the Florida Keys Dive Center, one of its boat captains and crew. Jared C. Adkins, then 39, of Harrington, DE, was
with his 11-year-old son, Calvin, when they were run over by the 46-foot Big Dipper just after getting in the water
near Conch Reef, nine miles south of Key Largo. Both suffered severe injuries and required emergency surgery after
being airlifted to Miami hospitals following the incident. The Adkins' attorney, John Hickey of Miami, said Calvin
suffered permanent brain injury due to the incident. Named in the lawsuit are Florida Keys Dive Center, boat captain
John Brady, mate John Burton and the dive center's operators, Thomas and Pamela Timmerman.
The Adkinses were taking part in a drift dive with about 15 other people, with the boat drifting as well, according
to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports of the incident. Both father and son were in the
water off the stern of the Big Dipper when it ran them over. The lawsuit states that Brady left the engines running
while the crew put divers in the water at three different locations. The Adkinses entered the water at the last location
with their gear under the direction of crew.
"When [the Adkinses] were in the transom of the vessel and after they jumped into the water, the master and his
mate and divemaster did not communicate properly with each other and did not maintain a proper lookout," the
lawsuit states. "Yet, the master put the engines in reverse and moved the vessel back over the two divers."
Hickey alleges the position of life rafts and layout of the Big Dipper made it so that "the person sitting at the
helm could not see the transom of the vessel or anyone in the transom of the vessel." He further alleges the charter
company failed to keep a proper lookout of divers and failed to provide a properly trained captain and crew, which
ultimately led to the incident. He also alleges the Florida Keys Dive Center "misrepresented" facts on its website,
mainly that "the personnel were not all employed by and were not 'of' the Florida Keys Dive Center." "We believe
this is a situation where the crew are paid as independent contractors and I think there's a little bit of shell game,"
Hickey said of the allegations regarding the website.
The lawsuit will be heard before U.S. District Senior Judge James Lawrence King. A court date has yet to be
- - Adam Linhardt, The Key West Citizen