MADERA COUNTY – A San Jose man who has been charged with misdemeanor involuntary manslaughter in the jet ski death of a 13-year-old Fresno boy at Bass Lake on June 27, was arraigned in Bass Lake Superior Court on Tuesday, Aug 4.
Phat Chau, 55, did not personally appear, but pleaded not guilty through his attorney.
Criminal charges were filed against Chau on Tuesday, July 28, in connection with the death of David Flores, 13, of Fresno, who died after being run over by a jet ski, reportedly operated by Chau. David’s 16-year-old aunt, Julissa Valenzuela, was badly injured.
Sheriff’s Investigators determined that David, Julissa, and David’s father were riding on an inflatable tube behind their pontoon boat when they were struck by the jet ski. David Flores was killed, while Julissa suffered serious injuries to the head, and was airlifted to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno. The father was not injured.
District Attorney David Linn is prepared for the possibility that Chau’s lawyer may move for a change of venue based on pre-trial publicity, but doubts that argument will be successful.
“All that would do is delay things and cost the County a lot more money,” says Linn, who notes that his office is ready to move forward on the case.
Chau is prohibited from operating a water craft anywhere in the state of California pending the outcome of the trial, says Linn.
A pretrial hearing in the case was set for Tuesday, Sept. 15.