The cruise on a brand-new Hydra-Sports Custom 42 started out as a birthday celebration last Dec. 30 in Fort Lauderdale. It ended up as a tragedy, with one of the three passengers on board (the birthday girl) so badly injured that she’s had two major brain surgeries. Now the boat’s owner, the CEO of an insurance holding company, is facing criminal charges in a Florida court.
The crash occurred just after midnight on Dec. 31, when Daniel Towriss, 47, drove his HCB 42 into the south jetty of the Port Everglades Inlet at a high speed. On board with him were Cassidy Rudman, 26, who suffered minor injuries, and Jarret Silagy, 39, and his wife Lauren, who was celebrating her 33rd birthday. Jarret Silagy needed some stiches on his face after the accident. Lauren has had two major brain surgeries and one knee operation.
The Silagys are owners of Portside Marine and Lakeview Marina in Indiana. Towriss is the CEO of Guggenheim Life and Annuity Company in Indianapolis.
This spring, the Silagys sued Towriss for $100 million in damages. Their suit said he had a cocktail and “a portion of two to three bottles of wine” before the boat ride plus another cocktail once they were underway.
Under the new suit, Towriss faces five misdemeanor charges, including culpable negligence and reckless operation of a vehicle. Each charge carries a possible sentence of one year in jail.
Towriss blamed the dark of night and the unlit jetty for the crash, and has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Records from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission show that only one other boat has crashed into the south jetty at night in the past ten years. Read more: