Friends react to lack of charges in Sweet Home jet ski accident

The town recently honored Zachary Maynard on what would have been his 7th birthday.

Posted: Nov 9, 2020 6:18 PM
Updated: Nov 9, 2020 6:55 PM

SWEET HOME, Ore. -- Some close to the families involved in the jet ski accident this summer say they feel at peace amid the Linn County District Attorney's decision to not pursue charges against the jet ski operator.

Nelia Taraski is the principal at Little Promises, the preschool Zachary Maynard and Kennedy Swenson both attended. She said it's a combination of faith and community that is making a tragic situation something manageable.

"We react with the emotions that we know -- the anger, the despair, that hoplessness sometimes -- but it is that faith that can only come from God," said Taraski.

She said every time she see's an article about the accident, which killed 6-year-old Zach and badly injured 6-year-old Kennedy, it's hard.

"Your heart stops for one second," she said.

She said she knows the families are rooted in faith as well.

"I cannot speak for (the family), but I hope they really know that the community's here for them," Taraski said.

The two kids were struck by an out-of-control jet ski back in July at Foster Lake after the operator fell off.

In a letter from the DA's office to the detective on the case, they explained that although this was a tragic accident, there was no crime committed.

It reads in part: "Sadly, tragic accidents happen daily. however, not all rise to the level of a crime, no matter how grave the consequences. One could potentially be negligent in their actions and cause a tragic result, without necessarily being 'criminally negligent.'"

"It is that faith that carries you through all the worst moments and it is my prayer that they can find peace," said Taraski.

She said that Zach's birthday just passed and a few places in town honored the little guy. He would have turned 7 years old.

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