5 injured in Black Creek boating accident


CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Five people were injured Tuesday afternoon on Black Creek in Clay County when their 21-foot open-deck boat hit trees, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials.

Injured were the following: Melissa Garlinghouse, 35, operator, of Fleming Island; Reilly Garlinghouse, 14, Fleming Island; Mary Sutton, 37, Middleburg; Spencer Sutton, 16, Middleburg; and Tracie Blair, 38, no hometown listed.

Samantha Garlinghouse, 11, of Fleming Island; Collier Blair, 10; and Bailey Blair, 6, also were aboard the boat but were not injured. The injured were taken to University of Florida Health Jacksonville with non-life-threatening injuries.

The vessel was headed toward Knights Boat Ramp at the U.S. Highway 17 Bridge in an attempt to get out of bad weather, according to FWC investigators. The boat veered right and hit trees and the creek's shoreline. The boat came to rest about 25-30 feet into the woods along the shore.

The FWC is continuing the investigation.