MADERA COUNTY – Charges have been filed against a San Jose man in connection with the death of a young boy on Bass Lake on June 27. The boy died after being run over by a wave runner, reportedly operated by Phat Chau.
Chau, 55, has been charged with misdemeanor involuntary manslaughter after allegedly running over 13-year-old David Flores of Fresno, and his 16-year-old aunt, Julissa Valenzuela, killing the boy, and leaving the young woman with traumatic injuries.
Sheriff’s Investigators determined that the two juveniles, as well as the boy’s father, were riding on an inflatable tube behind their pontoon boat when they were struck by the wave runner. Valenzuela suffered serious injuries to the head, and was airlifted to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno. The father was not injured.
Criminal charges were filed in Madera Superior Court on Tuesday, July 28, for the death of David Flores. Misdemeanor charges were also filed in connection with the injuries to Julissa Valenzuela, for the operating of a vessel in a reckless manner resulting in injury.
Chau has not been arrested at this time, and no date has been set for arraignment. He has been very cooperative during the investigation, according to Madera County District Attorney David Linn.
Linn and his investigators reportedly paid a visit to the family of David Flores yesterday, to let them know about the filing of the charges. Linn said that his office has done extensive research, and felt that the incident warranted charges based on the fact that Chau’s act was reckless in nature.
The Chau family was reportedly vacationing at the lake on the day of the incident, and there were two others on the wave runner in addition to Chau when the accident occurred.
The speed of the wave runner at the time of the accident is not known, and there has been no indication that alcohol was involved.