Man accused of driving boat that killed girl had 'no knowledge' of accident, lawyer says (2024)

Authorities in South Florida have identified the person driving a boat in the hit-and-run death of 15-year-old girl over the weekend.

Carlos Guillermo Alonso, 78, of Coral Gables was piloting a 42-foot Boston Whaler in Key Biscayne when officials say his boat struck Ella Riley Adler, according to a Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission incident report obtained by The Palm Beach Post, part of the USA TODAY NETWORK.

According to the report, the girl was wakeboarding and fell into the water before she was struck by Alonso's vessel.

The man driving the boat left the scene without stopping, witnesses told the agency. Ella was retrieved by the other boat but died of her injuries, according to the report.

Here's what we know so far about the fatal hit-and-run boating incident:

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When was Ella Adler struck by a boat?

According to new information released in the report, Ella was struck wakeboarding in waters off Key Biscayne on Saturday afternoon.

Initial reports from the FWC indicated the girl had been waterskiing.

The agency reported Ella fell in the oceannear Nixon Beachwhile being towed about a mile from shore and was struck by another vessel at 4:30 p.m.

The beach is in Miami-Dade County about 7 miles south of downtown Miami.

Ella was wakeboarding behind a 42-foot 2017 Hanse Fjord yacht near a sandbar at the same time as another unidentified female on a wake surfboard rode, officers wrote in the report.

Ella and the other female being towed fell into the water at different times and locations.

While waiting to be recovered by her boat, another vessel struck her and fled the scene, officials said. A witness said the boat did not appear to swerve or slow down when it hit the girl.

Ella, who wore a life jacket, died from her injuries.

Who is Carlos Guillermo Alonso?

Alonso is 78 and lives in Coral Gables. The city is about 5 miles from downtown Miami. According to his attorney, Lauren Krasnoff, her client goes by the name Bill.

Investigators said it was unclear if Alonso knew Ella was hit or whether alcohol was a factor.

Krasnoff told USA TODAY on Friday Alonso does not drink and did not know he struck anyone on the water.

Man accused of driving boat that killed girl had 'no knowledge' of accident, lawyer says (1)

Here is a statement in full released to USA TODAY from his attorney:

"This is the worst possible tragedy and before saying anything else, we want to express our deepest sympathies to Ella Adler’s family and friends.

There have been numerous requests for Carlos Alonso, who goes by “Bill,” to make a statement. Because this is an ongoing investigation with which he is fully cooperating, he will not be making any statements to the media other than to say that he was beyond devastated to learn that he may have been involved in this awful tragedy.

I will tell you that Bill, who has been boating for 50 years and is a very experienced boater who knows these waters, was out boating by himself on Saturday. He has no knowledge whatsoever of having been involved in this accident. If he hit Ella that day, he certainly did not know it. Had Bill thought he hit anything, he absolutely would have stopped. But he did not at any point think that he had hit anything, let alone a person. He docked his boat in plain sight right behind his house. When Fish and Wildlife contacted Bill on Sunday, he did not know why they were reaching out to him. He did not even know there was an accident on the water the day before, but immediately met with law enforcement, spoke to them without a lawyer, and has been cooperating with law enforcement eversince.

Bill is 78 years old and came to the United States from Cuba in operation Peter Pan. He has never had any contact with the criminal justice system. He does not drink and was not drinking on Saturday, May 11, and he was driving his boat safely at a reasonable rate of speed.

Bill is a good man and he is absolutely devastated by the loss of this intelligent, accomplished and beautiful young woman. He has cooperated 100% with law enforcement and will continue to do so. As I said, this is an ongoing investigation. So we will have no further comment at this time."

The FWC reported Alonso's vessel was in custody on Tuesday and Alonso was cooperating with the investigation.

Man accused of driving boat that killed girl had 'no knowledge' of accident, lawyer says (2)

Has anyone been arrested in Ella Adler's death?

Officials did not say whether Alonso was facing charges in connection to the fatal hit-and-run.

They also did not say what day they located the suspect vessel.

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Who was Ella Adler?

Ella, a ballerina, lived in Miami Beach, officials said, and attendedRansom Everglades High Schoolin Miami.

"She was a force of nature, and when she was near, everyone felt a gravitational pull toward her," her obituary reads."She loved to dance, she loved her friends, and most of all she loved her family."

She is the granddaughter of Michael Adler, the currentU.S. Ambassador to Belgium, according to theMiami Herald.

She is survived by her parents, Amanda and Matthew Adler, and her younger siblings Jaden and Adalynn, and many other relatives.

Reward being offered in Ella Adler's hit-and-run boating death

A $20,000 reward − $10,000 from Ella's family and a combined $10,000 from FWC and Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers − is being offered for information in the case.

Anyone who witnessed the crash is asked to contact those agencies.

Natalie Neysa Alund is a senior reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at and follow her on X @nataliealund.

Man accused of driving boat that killed girl had 'no knowledge' of accident, lawyer says (2024)


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