NORTH MIAMI, FLA. (WSVN) - Charges were filed against a prominent Miami real estate broker who is accused of causing a boat crash in Boca Chita that claimed the life of a young woman and injured several others on Labor Day of 2022, but the victims’ families say the charges are not harsh enough.

The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office on Friday charged 52-year-old George Pino with two counts of careless operation of a vessel causing death and serious bodily injury, which are second-degree misdemeanors.

Pino was at the helm of a 29-foot boat with his wife and 12 teenage girls on board when the vessel collided with a channel marker near the Upper Keys in Biscayne Bay.

Everyone on board was ejected on impact.

Good Samaritan Pedro Fernandez spoke with 7News about the incident during a phone interview.

“We board a girl, I start doing some CPR, talking with 911,” he said, “and she caught a lot water. For me, she was doing good, but she was unconscious.”

Seventeen-year-old Luciana Fernandez died at the scene.

“The whole class is grieving right now, like really deeply,” said a classmate of the victim. “She was just like a ray of sunshine.”

At Fernandez’s high school graduation in May, her parents walked the stage in her honor.

“It was a very moving moment, but it was also heartbreaking to know the reality of what has happened,” said Meli Fernandez, the victim’s mother.

On Friday, a spokesperson for the victim’s family told The Miami Herald, “The Fernandezes are devastated and distraught with the findings and conclusions of the report.”

Another teenager, Katy Puig, was permanently disabled by the injuries she suffered that day.

Puig and Fernandez were both seniors at Our Lady of Lourdes Academy in Southwest Miami-Dade.

“The girls and the faculty and staff are very affected by it,” said Sister Carmen Fernandez, president of Our Lady of Lourdes Academy.

The families of the victims reacted on Friday to the state attorney’s decision to charge Pino.

A lawyer for Puig’s parents told The Miami Herald the couple is “outraged,” calling the charges a “slap on the wrist.”

The Puigs had filed a lawsuit against Pino back in March. They claim officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission were unwilling to test Pino’s blood alcohol levels right after the crash, signaling reports there were several empty alcohol bottles inside the boat at the time of the crash.

However, in a statement released on Friday, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office stated that Pino “was not impaired by drugs or alcohol while operating the vessel,” adding that this “limited the criminal charges applicable to the circumstances of this incident.”

In a statement to The Miami Herald, attorneys for Pino responded to the state attorney’s decision, saying, “The FWC and the State Attorney’s Office have conclusively confirmed this was not an alcohol-related accident. Multiple witnesses observed that another boat created an extra-large wake, causing a loss of control.”

Attorneys for Pino said the family is devastated, and they have already pledged their life savings to help the victims, adding that “they continue to pray every day for each person and family that was involved.”

If convicted, Pino could face up to 60 days of jail time for each count. He could also receive a fine or face some probation time.

The Fernandez family released the following statement:

“It is insulting to our family, who has had no choice but to accept the consequences of the accident, to now also be forced to accept the numerous inconsistencies refuted by the FWC report. Claims that the accident was caused by a phantom boat and its wake are both clearly debunked in the report. In addition, the report confirms that there were no mechanical issues in the steering wheel to the engines. The GPS download in the report shows a straight line and an increase in speed; there was no veering or dodging of anything. Moreover, the premature and subjective dismissal of possible impairment, when the report details the presence of numerous empty alcohol containers, is disturbing; the only real way to conclusively rule out alcohol as a factor would have been to test for such on that day. The fact that self-preservation seems to be more important than helping provide answers and closure to our family is overwhelmingly offensive; we’ve had to bury our 17-year-old daughter and another teenager lost life as she knew it. Minimizing the accident, the irresponsible actions causing it, and the gravity of our reality, to the likes of a mere traffic citation, only adds insult to injury.”

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