CLEARWATER BEACH, Fla. -- Pepin Academies' executive director was killed and his 4-year-old daughter critically injured Saturday when the Jet Ski they were riding on crashed into a boat.
Craig Butz, 52, held the position of director with the charter schools, which serves students with learning disabilities across the Tampa Bay region.
"We are shocked and saddened to hear of the unexpected and tragic loss of Pepin Academies’ Executive Director, Dr. Craig Butz," said Dr. Jeff Skowronek, the chairman of the Pepin Academies Hillsborough Campuses, in a statement.
"In my four years working with Dr. Butz, he advanced the mission of Pepin Academies tenfold. His wisdom and intelligence was matched by his passion and exuberance for the staff and students of our schools. He was a leader, a champion, and a friend. The pain of his loss, both professionally and personally, will be felt for an eternity."
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Butz and his 4-year-old daughter, Teagan, were on the watercraft in the area of Bay Esplanade. Rescuers responded around 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, upon reports that it crashed.
The Tampa Bay Times reports the two crashed into a 34-foot center console boat operated by 67-year-old Thomas Carey of Clearwater.
Teagan Butz was airlifted to Bayfront Health Hospital for treatment. Her father died upon arrival to the hospital.
"The Pepin family is devastated by this tragic accident. Craig was not only a respected and dedicated educator, but also a great father and friend," said Tom Pepin, the president of Pepin Distributing Company, in a statement.
"I am heartbroken and ask everyone to pray that Teagan can make a full recovery."
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