Police: Dad Tossed Crying Son off California Tour Boat

By: From CNN
By: From CNN

ORANGE COUNTY, California (CNN) -- A Southern California man allegedly hit his crying 7-year-old son and then threw him off on a tour boat in busy Newport Harbor, Orange County, authorities said Tuesday.

Sloane Briles, 35, of Irvine, California, has been charged with felony child endangerment and resisting arrest, the Orange County Sheriff's Office said. He was released Monday in lieu of a $100,000 bond.

Briles, who's divorced, was on the tour boat Sunday afternoon with his two sons, ages 6 and 7, when he got into an argument with his current girlfriend, said sheriff's office spokesman Jim Amormino.

The boat takes passengers past Newport Beach houses that are or were occupied by celebrities, including the home where the late John Wayne lived, Amormino said. His 7-year-old son became upset about the argument and started crying, Amormino said.

The father took the boy to the bow of the boat and told him, " 'If you don't stop crying, I'm going to throw you overboard,' " Amormino said.

"And he hits the kid a couple of times," Amormino said. "The boy is crying. He picks him up and throws him overboard. They are in the middle of a harbor, and there is a lot of boat traffic."

The boy's life was endangered several ways, authorities said.

"The main one was throwing him off the front of the boat because the boat could run over him. There was the danger of him being hit by the prop. And the other danger is that because there are so many boats out there, it's no place to swim, and because he's so small, the other boats wouldn't have seen him," Amormino said.

The boy was also "only a fair swimmer," Amormino said.

"But luckily, three boats saw the kid and converged on him, and plucked him from the water," Amormino said.

"The father did jump in (after his son), but the crowd on the boat became angry when he was hitting the kid and became more angry when he threw him overboard," Amormino said. There were 85 people on the tour boat.

A sheriff's patrol boat responded to a call about the incident. After deputies boarded the tour boat, one of them suffered minor injuries to the hand and elbow during Briles' arrest, authorities said.

Deputies took the two boys to their harbor station and later turned them over to their mother, Amormino said.

Briles couldn't be reached for comment, and an attorney for him couldn't be immediately located, the sheriff's office said.

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