A man was charged today with felony child abuse and endangerment and a misdemeanor count of resisting arrest after allegedly throwing his 7-year-old son off a moving tour boat in the Newport Beach harbor late last month.
Sloan Steven Briles, 35, of Irvine is facing six years in state prison, according to a statement released by the Orange County District Attorney’s office.
Briles threw his son over the side of a tour boat and into the path of busy oncoming traffic, according to the statement.
The DA is accusing Briles of being under the influence of alcohol the day of the incident. Briles has a history of public intoxication, according to Orange County Superior Court records. He has two prior arrests for public intoxication, in 2007 and 2010.
The incident began around 1 p.m. on Aug. 28, when Briles, who was on the Pavilion Queen boat tour with his girlfriend, the 7-year-old and his 6-year-old son, got into a verbal argument with his girlfriend. The 7-year-old boy got upset and followed his father as he walked to the front of the boat.
“[Briles] said if he didn’t stop crying he would throw him overboard,” said Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Jim Amormino.
He poked his son in the chest and repeatedly slapped him, making him cry, according to the DA’s office. The boy asked his father to stop because he was hurting him, the press release stated.
Briles then picked up the little boy and threw him approximately 10 feet over the side of the boat, according to the statement.
“At that time, the Queen was in a busy boating area with a large amount of boat traffic, so the first mate stalled the boat and maneuvered it to protect the child from being struck by another vessel. The captain threw the crying child, who was treading water, a life ring,” the DA states in the press release.
The district attorney claims Briles jumped in the water to avoid the angry passengers on the Queen and made no attempt to swim to his son’s aid.
Several people from nearby boats jumped into the water to rescue the boy, who was only a fair swimmer, Amormino said.
“He was plucked from the ocean very quickly,” Amormino said.
The boy was shaken up but otherwise OK, he added.
The Pavilion Queen’s crew asked the other boats not to help Briles, who was eventually pulled back onto the Queen, according to the DA’s statement.
Briles was arrested around 2 p.m. after witnesses, including the approximately 85 passengers also on board the Pavilion Queen tour boat, called authorities, said Amormino.
The Harbor Patrol responded within three minutes, Amormino said, and Briles became combative and resisted arrest by the sheriff’s deputies. One deputy sustained minor injuries, Amormino said.
“Briles is accused of ignoring the deputies orders to stand, struggling with them as they attempted to help him to his feet, and making his body go limp to make it difficult as deputies tried to remove him from the boat. Briles had to be dragged from the Queen to the OCSD Harbor Patrol boat,” the DA’s statement read.
The boy was released to his natural mother.
Deputy District Attorney Cyril Yu of the Family Protection Unit is prosecuting this case.
Briles is out of custody on $100,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 26, at 8:30 a.m. at the Harbor Justice Center.