In freak accident, boy, 5, on jet ski strikes and injures woman on beach at Washington Park

Photo and information from Indiana DNR

A 5-year-old boy inadvertently injured a woman at Washington Park, Michigan City, when he accidentally drove a personal watercraft (jet ski) onto the beach and struck her.

According to the Indiana DNR, the boy and his dad, from Illinois, were on the jet ski with his dad driving at about 1 p.m. when the father stopped to assist another jet ski operator who was having mechanical difficulties.

The dad told the boy to stand next to their jet ski as he helped the other operator, but the boy climbed aboard their watercraft and pushed the ignition button, causing the craft to slowly move forward. Frightened by the motion, the boy grabbed the handlebars and inadvertently pushed the throttle.

The craft turned toward shore with the boy onboard and accelerated, traveling 30 feet onto the beach and striking Cherletta Chipps, 60, of Mishawaka, as she sat in a lawn chair.

Chipps sustained a serious injury to her foot and was transported by ambulance to St. Anthony Hospital.

Besides DNR, emergency responders included Michigan City Police Department, Michigan City Fire Department, and LaPorte County EMS.

32 Responses to “In freak accident, boy, 5, on jet ski strikes and injures woman on beach at Washington Park”

  1. Cheri Harrington

    Sep 16. 2017

    I was there and saw how our community came to the woman’s aid. God bless the young lady who was an er nurse and quickly took the tragedy into her care. Others aided in calling 911,getting towels and comforting the injured lady. Praying for her, the child and their families!

    Reply to this comment
    • Susan Melville

      Sep 17. 2017

      Why do we have to pray for the child and it’s family?Their negligence was the reason for this woman’s accident. Prayers for the woman though!

      Reply to this comment
    • Lonnerman

      Sep 17. 2017

      I am praying the childs family is sued for all they are worth.

      This isn´t a “Freak Accident”‘ this is child neglec and rekless endagering of everyone near teh usupervised child, at best.

      Reply to this comment
    • ReddAnon

      Sep 17. 2017

      Ok, you want to pray for the kid, that’s one thing. He was too young to know better and if he’s got any sort of conscience he’s probably struggling with guilt.
      But praying for the parents? I’d pray that they don’t have any more children to unleash on innocent people, but that’s about it.
      I hope children’s services is looking into it. This kid easily could have hurt or killed himself with their negligent parenting.
      On a brighter note, kudos to the ER nurse and all the others who helped. Probably saved the woman’s life.

      Reply to this comment
  2. elizabeth frantes

    Sep 16. 2017

    That was no accident. That was negligence. Sorry, but there is no way that child could have, or should have, gotten access to a machine when he was with two adults. It sounds like he knew how to make it go faster. This was preventable, and I hope that the boy’s family gets sued for everything they own.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Mj

    Sep 17. 2017

    This is not a freak accident. Who let’s their 5year old on a jetski?!?! I hope that lady sues hard core. I don’t want to hear about how hard it is for them bc clearly being a responsible adult is hard and everyone now a days just wants a free pass bc “their tired parents.” Cry me a river and put on your big kid panties and actually parent your kids. -_- my kids would NEVER have done this. They wouldn’t be allowed to even LOOK at a jetski at the age of 5. I feel for that poor lady.

    Reply to this comment
  4. James Grimes Jr

    Sep 17. 2017

    The key shouldn’t have been left in the ski, or worse in the on position. A good case for negligence on the part of the dad. The victim should recover and sue the pants off of them.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Random Dude

    Sep 17. 2017

    I hope the poor woman sues the familiy for everything they have, and maybe call CPS so they take away their child, it’s so unfair to the woman that the father thought it was a good idea to leave a kid alone with a jetski.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Angus Richardson

    Sep 17. 2017

    Fips should stay in Illinois

    Reply to this comment
  7. Elizabeth

    Sep 17. 2017

    This wasn’t a freak accident, it was an example of poor parenting. I’m not a fan of our overly litigious society, but this is a case where the injured woman deserves to win all she can get.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Lorraine r

    Sep 17. 2017

    This is awful- what was that parent thinking?? Take the key, take the kid with you or back to shore first, make some sort of reasonable effort at safety here. This was reckless. He is lucky something even worse didn’t happen like people losing their lives.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Alice

    Sep 17. 2017

    That poor woman. I hope she recovers and sues them into the ground. What a stupid and irresponsible family.

    Reply to this comment
  10. John

    Sep 17. 2017

    Not one shred of sympathy for the kid or his father, but tons of it for this poor woman. Sue them into the ground is right!

    Reply to this comment
  11. Ale

    Sep 17. 2017

    What? I hope the parents get SUED hard! This case of negligence is astounding, the child could be dead. I don’t know how these people can be parents. I’ll pray for the victim and the child, because his parents are not suitable for his care 🙁

    Reply to this comment
  12. Michael Metz

    Sep 17. 2017

    How did it travel 30 ft on shore if its in only 2ft of water.the jetski needs water to move

    Reply to this comment
  13. WWJD

    Sep 18. 2017

    a lot of mean people here, wow.

    Reply to this comment
    • Kathy T

      Sep 18. 2017

      I agree, how mean can you get. Some time an accident might be caused by you.

      Reply to this comment
  14. Alisha Ulrich

    Sep 18. 2017

    Reading these comments has my heart a little saddened. I am the ER nurse who was there and applied the tourniquet to her leg. While my prayers go to the woman injured and her family, I have also been praying for the boy and his family. I was there with my own 5 year old son and 7 year old daughter. This was a freak accident. While I agree the boy should not have been on the jet ski with the key in the ignition, I had been sitting there watching him on the jet ski finding his pure joy pretty cute. I am a parent of a child this age and while I don’t think I’d leave my son on a jet ski with the key in the ignition, I have seen how easily something unexpected or even tragic could happen. As an ER and trauma nurse I see tragedy every day, and I believe we as a society need to stop being so judge mental of the actions of other and just pray for all involved. I also pray for the bystanders, who are undoubtedly scarred for life from witnessing something so scary. I’m not sure I will get my son back to the beach any time soon because he is so traumatized from this. So, my prayers go to all involved, especially the woman injured. Praying for her speedy recovery.

    Reply to this comment
    • Me

      Sep 18. 2017

      Thank you SO MUCH! Every comment after your first one was so cruel!
      I praise you for everything as my daughter is a nurse in an ER too! I could go on but will stop here because You made me feel better about ALL the “sue” happy people!

      Reply to this comment
    • TJames

      Sep 18. 2017

      Well said! It was a terrible accident and a horrible judgement call by the dad. I am sure if he had any idea this would happen, he would have thought twice and I am sure he feels horrible! As a 13 year old, I was in a similar situation in my parents car. I took the keys out to start it and my parents didn’t think anything about it. I really can’t recall what happened but I know I somehow got it in reverse and put pushed on the gas rather than the brake nearly hitting my sister and her then baby and going into the street. It couldn’t have been so much worse, and I will never forget it and how tramatic it was for me and my family. My parents were amazing parents and it was just a freak accident that happened so fast. I hope the lady makes a full recovery but maybe a little less judging would be appropriate. I am sure the guilt felt by both the little boy and the father is unbearable. CPS to look into it? Seriously?? Get a grip people!

      Reply to this comment
    • Name (required)

      Sep 18. 2017

      We were there as well. Thank you for all you did. Your commentary is right on. It was tragic, but it was an accident. The boy and his family will be traumatized for a long time. Ruining their life doesn’t help anyone. Wishing the victim a speedy recovery. About the best thing that can happen out of this is to ensure the lanyard is removed after riding to prevent this from reoccurring.

      Reply to this comment
  15. Joe

    Sep 18. 2017

    Lots of people casting stones on here. This kid must have been the 1st 5 year old to ever get curious and not listen to their parent. Re-read the story again and the father stopped to help another motorist having struggles. Was it negligent to leave the key in the ignition? Probably. But we weren’t there. Mistakes happen. Hope none of you live in a glass house.

    Reply to this comment
  16. Colleen

    Sep 18. 2017

    I was there too. I held Cheri’s hand and she was remarkably strong for sustaining such a horrific injury. While I acknowledge the fault on behalf of the parents, I also know they were on the beach just like we were, to have one more beach day before fall. The parents of the little boy will undoubtedly be sued, because Cheri will need multiple surgeries and rehab for months or years to come. I fear the boy is old enough to remember this event and it could haunt him his whole life. The parents will live with this their whole life and may lose everything. I just wish you wouldn’t wish the worst for them.
    To the blonde woman who was on my left. You were strong, focused and in control. To the retired nurse who hugged me after Cheri left the beach, thank you for that. To everyone who was involved, thank you for not being afraid to jump in. It shows that we all can come together when tragedy strikes.
    Best wishes to Cheri for a swift recovery. XO

    Reply to this comment
  17. Jen O.

    Sep 18. 2017

    I read this story this morning and I could not believe all the judgment and hatefulness. And there were so many, I questioned myself, was I missing something here? This is not how I feel after reading about this terrible accident. I came back after lunch and saw the additional messages that were more in line with what I was thinking. I am sure the father feels awful and I hope his son does NOT remember what he saw, as it sounds like it was terribly awful… But the point is, they did not mean for it to happen! Mistakes were made, we are all guilty of them, be happy the mistakes you have made were not to this extent, most of you sound like you want this poor father and his son burned at the stake! I feel for the lady that has these injuries to bear, I pray she has insurance that will be there to help her and a lawyer may come into play. But as a service to settle this matter, not with vengeance.

    Please people of LaPorte County, we need love, support, acceptance and compassion. Let this situation be what turns us around from the hate and realize these feelings will get us no where.

    Also, Thank you so much from WWJD on down as you all had the courage to comment and change this around. All of your words inspired me to comment on this page for the first time.

    .

    Reply to this comment
  18. Mr Illinois

    Sep 18. 2017

    Hey Angus, when I visit my house along the beach in Michigan City I frequent many of the restaurants and retail establishments in the area. They are all very happy to see me and even happier for my business. Many of the Indiana residents who work on my house, repair my boat and service my vehicle are glad to have my business as well. If you don’t work in any of those fields don’t worry, you still enjoy the revenue of Blue Chip Casino which has generated millions of dollars which has built MC a new police station and keeps your property taxes down. So a simple thank you would be sufficient.
    This guy who left his five year old on a wave runner made a terrible mistake. He should have removed the ignition key. The article said he got off the wave runner to assist another person so had good intentions but got distracted. Evidently all of the above negative comments are made by people who are perfect and never had an accident or made a mistake EVER! Amazing I’d like to know how you do it. I hope the victim recovers and wish her well.

    Reply to this comment
  19. just wondering

    Sep 18. 2017

    Maybe a jet ski should be like a lawn mower with a safety shut off for weight

    Reply to this comment
  20. Julie Kessler

    Sep 18. 2017

    Just wanting to remind people: This was indeed so awful, but some of the comments here are not reflecting the report, which said the child was not left on the jet ski; the dad had told him to stand beside it. It’s pretty hard sometines for a child his age to resist checking out the thing, and sure, a perfect parent will always remember that. I wasn’t perfect; no one is. I’m also astounded that anyone could possibly put any responsibility for this on a 5-year-old child.

    Reply to this comment
  21. Deb Kuta

    Sep 19. 2017

    Yes it was a terrible accident and hope the lady that was hurt will recover fully! But, I am also a nurse and a grandmother of a little boy who is curious about things that have engines and I don’t think he would have at all meant to hurt anyone! I’m sure he was scared to death! I bet he was sobbing as hard as anyone! Have a little humanity people! I’m sure his dad was feeling torn up inside too! So is suing everyone the answer for everything?

    Reply to this comment
  22. Keven Putnam a.k.a. mr.pottawattamie park

    Sep 19. 2017

    What a tragic accident, I hope the women will be good.

    Reply to this comment
  23. Mr. Indiana

    Sep 20. 2017

    Thanks for your business Mr. Illinois but I’m sure we could do without it. If it weren’t for Illinois people driving up the prices of lakefront property, Indiana people would buy those houses on the beach and use them more than a couple weeks a year. But not having anymore public beaches where our families can go without getting the cops called is nice too I guess.

    Reply to this comment
  24. Mr Illinois

    Sep 21. 2017

    Mr Indiana. Last time I checked Indiana is still part of the United States where I am a tax paying citizen and therefore if I choose to buy property in Indiana, which is for sale on the open market, so be it.
    I’m sorry you can not afford it or that as a citizen of Indiana you believe you have a right to something over someone else. Try working a little harder to attain your goals in life instead of waiting for someone to give you something.

    Reply to this comment
  25. GAIL L NOVAK

    Oct 10. 2017

    This is a terrible accident and that is just want it was an accident. I feel sorry for the lady who was hit and I pray for her recovery. This could of been so much worse… think about it. The little boy could of been hurt or killed. Yes, I am sure that a lawyer will be involved because that is how things are handled in our world. People make mistakes and I am sure that the dad has replayed the event several times in his mind. I often wonder about all the battery operated vehicles that the kids have now …. they know more about driving than we did at that age. They know how a key starts the engine. To the little boy it is like a bigger version of a battery operated car that he rides around on in the yard…. I have grand kids an am amazed at how much they learn just by watching. Accidents are accidents… Just pray that all involved recover..

    Reply to this comment

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