Funeral service set for 4 killed in boat crash
By Ryan Mills
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Funeral arrangements were finalized Tuesday for the four Collier County residents who were killed in Saturday’s boat crash off Big Marco Pass near Marco Island.
A public viewing for Linda Molter, 42, Meagan Molter, 22, James Molter, 20 and Meagan’s fiancé, Harper Simpson II, 31, is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at the First Baptist Church of Naples, 3000 Orange Blossom Drive. A funeral service for all four will follow the visitation at 8 p.m., said Todd Muller, owner of Muller-Thompson Funeral Chapel.
“The three Molter victims will be cremated,” Muller said. “Harper Simpson is going to be transferred to the Simpson’s funeral home in Monaca, Pa. That was his father’s funeral home before he moved to Naples.”
Simpson’s father, also Harper Simpson, said Tuesday that his son was an experienced boater who grew up with boats. He said his son purchased the 33-foot 1994 Powerplay speedboat in early December after conducting extensive research.
He said his son purchased the boat from an individual, not from a dealer.
Frank Penela, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, said Harper Simpson II had two boats, including the 1994 Powerplay, registered under his name.
Simpson, who used to run a funeral home, said he and his wife, Phylis, knew what was happening when law enforcement officials arrived at their doorstep on Hawaii Boulevard on Saturday.
“We loved our son very much,” Phylis Simpson said. “We’re going to miss him.”
The family members died when the boat they were riding in flew into the air, slammed back into the water and broke apart. The boat was traveling straight and at a high rate of speed when the crash occurred, authorities said.
Jennifer Molter, 16, who lived with her family at 15095 Summit Place Circle, was the only person in the boat to survive the crash. She was pulled from the water by fishermen, transported to NCH Healthcare System’s Downtown Naples Hospital and released after being treated.
Alan Molter, the father of James and Meagan, and the husband of Linda Molter, said Sunday that he noticed a stress crack on the boat but wasn’t sure if the crack was there before Simpson bought the boat.
On Tuesday, officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission continued their investigation into the cause of the crash, spokeswoman Dani Moschella said. She said the officials are midway through their investigation.
“There’s nothing new and there probably isn’t going to be anything new for a while,” Moschella said. “Upon completion of the investigation it will all be made public.”
The investigators have finished combing the water for evidence, and will continue the investigation on shore, Moschella said.
“They’ve found just about everything they need to,” Moschella said. “They have the majority of the boat. Everything that they need as far as evidence is on land at this point.”
A fund has been set up to benefit the Molter family. People can stop by any Orion Bank in Naples and make a donation to the Molter family fund, Muller said.
“They prefer those donations to help the family in lieu of flowers,” Muller said.