Allyssa Squirrell

Allyssa Squirrell

HUNTINGTON BEACH -- Orange County prosecutors have decided not to file criminal charges against a safety officer who drove the boat that struck and killed an 11-year-old junior lifeguard during a routine training exercise.

Allyssa Squirrell, of Laguna Hills, was with a group of 20 to 25 junior lifeguards who were training beyond the surfline at Huntington Beach when she was struck last July.

The youngsters were practicing speed drops, jumping off the end of a moving boat in pairs.

Allyssa and another girl successfully jumped, according to sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino said.

The 28-foot boat, piloted by 53-year-old veteran marine safety officer Lt. Greg Crow, had circled around to pick them up when it struck Allyssa.

Squirrell died in surgery at UCI Medical Center about 5:30 p.m. July 14, just hours after she was pulled from the water, Amormino said.

An autopsy found Allyssa died of deep cuts to her back and her left leg, Amormino said.

"In all probability, she was struck by the boat's propeller," Amormino said.

The other girl was not hurt, Amormino said.

Another lifeguard was also in the boat and a third was in the water, officials said.

Crow has 32 years of experience and holds a public safety medal of valor. He was said to be devastated by the incident.

"The conditions were choppy, and I'm sure the operator of that boat, who is very, very experienced, did not see the young girl," Amormino said.

Payne said the junior lifeguards were five weeks into an eight-week program and were in the water daily.

This is the first injury accident in the program since its inception in 1964, Payne said.