2010-07-01 / Top Stories

Memorial Held For Youth Killed In ’06 Jet Ski Accident

(From left) Joann Zaccaria joined Ray Robinson and Ray Palo, members of Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club, to lay wreath in water during ceremony Photos by Arthur De Gaeta (From left) Joann Zaccaria joined Ray Robinson and Ray Palo, members of Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club, to lay wreath in water during ceremony Photos by Arthur De Gaeta The family and friends of Paul Zaccaria held a memoriam for the youngster who died in a bizarre accident while riding his jet ski in Mill Basin on June 30th, 2006. He was a mere 17 years old at the time of the horrific collision with another jet skier.

It was just four years ago when Zaccaria, 17, was zooming through the waterways behind the houses on National Drive in Mill Basin on his jet ski; a Sunday afternoon around 4 p.m. at which time he was playfully being chased by his friend, Aristotle Plagianakos, 19, also on a jet ski. The waterways are narrow in some places, wide in others, and it’s hard to make fast turns — but Paul Zaccaria knew his way around jet skis, and so did Aristotle Plagianakos — at least they thought they did.

A bagpiper (second from right) plays “Amazing Grace” as friends bow their heads during memorial service for deceased jet skier. A bagpiper (second from right) plays “Amazing Grace” as friends bow their heads during memorial service for deceased jet skier. Going at high speed, Zaccaria made a quick turn to starboard, not realizing that his friend was very close behind. And Plagianakos didn’t realize it either. They collided and Zaccaria was thrown from his craft and killed. His body was not found for more than a week.

Plagianakos and a friend who was riding on the back of his jet ski drove off after the crash, making the collision a clear case of alleged hit and run, together with manslaughter.

The youth later returned to the scene and officials charged him with manslaughter and arrested him. A year later, Plagianakos was acquitted of the charge. Friends and relatives, including contingent of members of the Rolling Thunder Vietnam Veterans Motorcycle Club, threw a wreath into the water of Mill Basin in memory of the teenager they all loved and who died while having fun on a June afternoon.

A mournful bagpipe played Amazing Grace as the wreath floated away and his mother, Joann, shed her tears.

Charles Rogers

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