State Attorney's Office: “All efforts are being made at this time by law enforcement to make contact with Mr. Mott."
A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Jackie C. Mott III, a Valparaiso resident believed responsible for a fatal boating accident last year that killed 24-year-old Anthony Jarab.
Mott, who is not in custody yet, faces charges of boating under the influence-manslaughter, vessel homicide, BUI causing serious bodily injury and violation of navigational rules.
“All efforts are being made at this time by law enforcement to make contact with Mr. Mott,” said Bill Bishop, the chief assistant state attorney for Okaloosa County.
The BUI-manslaughter charge and the vessel homicide charge are second-degree felonies, and the BUI causing serious bodily injury is a third-degree felony, Bishop said. The violation of navigational rules charge is a misdemeanor.
John Jarab, Anthony’s father, declined to comment on Wednesday’s developments until he receives more information from authorities.
The accident occurred at just after midnight July 19, 2017, when Mott drove his 22-foot Mako center console fishing boat into a channel marker near Crab Island in Choctawhatchee Bay.
Jarab, of Niceville, was sitting at the bow and was fatally injured when he was thrown toward the center console following impact.
Two other passengers — Madison R. William, 18, of Niceville, and Amber Doolan, 32, of Dripping Springs, Texas — also were injured, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The warrant for Mott’s arrest was issued Feb. 16, according to information posted on the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office website. Bishop confirmed the warrant Wednesday.
'He needs to be arrested'
Jarab family members have been wondering when action might be taken against Mott. Jenee Patterson of Niceville, the grandmother of Jarab’s daughter, was worried the death might never be prosecuted.
“He needs to be arrested. He needs to be charged for this,” Patterson said. “I just want him to be arrested and serve his time and not get out of it.”
Mott, 34, has a lengthy history of both boating and driving infractions.
He served 72 days in the Okaloosa County Jail between July 25 and Oct. 4, 2017, after violating his probation by driving as a habitual offender with a suspended or revoked license. Court records show he had received a speeding ticket July 20, just 11 days after the fatal boating accident.
“He does not need to be driving anything. He needs to be driving a bicycle,” said Patterson, who knew Mott through his business connections in Niceville.
Patterson said she realizes Jarab probably shouldn’t have been seated where he was on the boat at the time of the accident, particularly given Mott’s reputation as a reckless driver.
“Do I think Jay (Mott) tried to intentionally kill Tony? Absolutely I do not,” she said. “Do I think Jay was driving the boat when he should not have been? Absolutely.”
Mott was charged on May 20, 2014, with boating under the influence. He was pulled over after dark driving without navigation lights, according to a report filed by the FWC. He didn’t have proper safety equipment or registration on board.
Although that FWC report on the BUI charge states Mott failed nearly all the field sobriety tests he was given, the charges against him were dropped four months later. He had refused to take breathalyzer tests at the scene of the arrest and after he was taken into custody.
History of driving violations
In 2009, Mott faced a Sheriff’s Office traffic charge of reckless driving causing serious bodily injury after he crashed a truck into a brick wall that served as a barrier between the street and a residential property. An arrest report said an unidentified number of Mott’s passengers were seriously injured in the wreck.
Mott was released from jail about 45 minutes after being booked, according to Okaloosa County records. The charge was eventually reduced to misdemeanor reckless driving, and a suspended year’s sentence was reworked to allow him to complete his probation by spending 10 consecutive weekends in the county jail, court records show.
In between the more serious brushes with the law, Mott was charged with numerous traffic violations from 2006 to 2012, including driving with a suspended or revoked license in 2012. In 2014, he was charged for the first time as a habitual violator driving on a revoked license. Mott was charged again last year with driving on a suspended or revoked license.