Justin Guarini cited for "unsafe boat operation" while hanging out with Kelly Clarkson and friends
By Reality TV World staff, 07/01/2003
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Justin Guarini, runner-up in the original "American Idol" series, was ticketed by Grand Prairie police Saturday afternoon after witnesses said he almost ran over a young girl with a personal watercraft at a local lake. According to the report, Justin, along with "Idol" winner Kelly Clarkson and a half dozen or so of their friends, had been taking turns riding the watercraft for most of the day when police cited Justin for "unsafe boat operation" after the early evening incident. The offense is punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and a maximum 180 days in jail.
Clint Heizer, the father of the 5-year-old girl who Guarini allegedly almost hit, said Guarini ran the watercraft up on shore a good distance and stopped a few feet short of his daughter. A former fan of the show, Heizer said "I was in Justin's face talking to him about what he had just done, and that's when I realized who he was." Heizer said Guarini rolled off the moving watercraft before it stopped and ran away laughing.
"If they were just apologetic, everything would have been all right," said Heizer. But instead, according to Heizer, Guarini and Clarkson were "rude and confrontational" to both his party and the police and Coast Guard auxillarymen who arrived on the scene. The local cops didn't seem to completely agree with Heizer's opinion. "I wouldn't say confrontational," Sgt. Chris Chopin, lake patrol supervisor said. "But they were inquisitive, to say the least, about why we were talking to them." According to Chopin, Guarini and Clarkson "didn't understand what the laws were."
The singers and their friends were kicked out of the lake after the incident, but not before they signed autographs on the way out.