Alcohol Confirmed in Dinner Key Boat Crash; Questions Abound

Categories: News

dinnerkeyvictims.jpg
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Victoria Dempsey, Andrew Garcia, and Kelsie Karpiak
Around noon on Monday, several cars belonging to relatives and friends were lined up outside a grieving family's suburban Palmetto Bay home, and Craig Karpiak was still coming to grips with a bleak new reality.

"Nothing matters except she's gone," a somber Karpiak said. "That's my daughter."

More than three days after South Florida's deadliest boating crash killed Karpiak's daughter Kelsie and three others, details of the incident remain scarce, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Jorge Pino told Riptide Monday evening. "Our investigators are still trying to piece all the evidence together and come up with a clearer picture."

See also: After Four Die in Dinner Key Boating Accident, New Details Follow

Around 10:40 Friday night, a boat operated by Andrew Garcia, 23, slammed into another vessel a couple of miles off Dinner Key. Garcia and Victoria Dempsey, a passenger, were thrown overboard; with no one left operating the first boat, a 2003 32-foot Contender, it continued on and struck a third vessel.

Pino confirmed to Riptide that evidence of alcohol consumption was found on the boat operated by Garcia, although he said it was yet to be determined whether the driver was intoxicated. Pino also declined to give more specifics of what evidence was found.

"I could tell you that there was evidence of alcohol on the striking vessel," he said. "You can think what you want to think."

One man from the second boat, 23-year-old Jason Soleimani, was killed instantly from the impact of the crash. Karpiak and the other two passengers from the first boat -- Karpiak's friends Catherine Payan and Samantha Rolth -- were rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital after a commercial marine tow crew member was able to jump aboard and take control of the vessel, which had been circling out of control. Karpiak was pronounced dead on arrival. The bodies of Garcia and Dempsey were recovered from the water the next day, and Payan remains in critical condition, as does a passenger from the second boat, 39-year-old Dayanara Arias. No one on the third boat was seriously injured.

All three boats were returning to shore after spending the Fourth of July on the water and watching the nighttime fireworks. Aboard the two boats that were struck were families and children, including a 5-year-old and 2-year-old, neither of whom were injured.

Outside his home Monday, a grieving Craig Karpiak described his daughter as an extremely loved, funny, and sweet young woman who ran her mother's dance company and was excited about the future.

"Not a mean bone in her body," the father said, his voice low and soft. "The sweetest little girl you'd ever meet."

Send your tips to trevor.bach@miaminewtimes.com, or follow @trevorbach.

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32 comments
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samueljackson864 topcommenter

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Yolie Rodriguez
Yolie Rodriguez

Something sticks out like a sore thumb... there were 5 people in the Contender, the boat that struck the other two; those five people were Andrew Garcia, Victoria Dempsey, Kelsie Karpiac, (all deceased), Catherine Payan who is in a coma at Jackson Memorial and a 5th person, the girl who's name is never mentioned and was apparently thrown overboard .... or jumped in the water and rescued by the people on the sailboat and she was quoted to have said: "I don't know that family, I don't know these people"... why can't she say what really happened? What is her name and where is she now? Am I missing something?

Cts Limo Cts Limo
Cts Limo Cts Limo

Always is, there should be classes for boat operation and police water patrols

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Hany Fawzy Attallah

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Mark Mares
Mark Mares

Go figure. Not surprised and bet all were heading for mas partying.

Mayren Ocana
Mayren Ocana

Posting news for ratings, isn't going to open the eyes of the public. Especially when children at a certain age believe they are invincible. Now calling the deceased alcoholics, that was tactful. Coming from a grown and obviously ignorant man its beyond ridiculous but clearly not impossible. I'm sure you've had a drink in the past, does that make you an alcoholic? I'm sure when your family member dies you would be completely ok with having it constantly played and posted on social media. I'm sure that would make the grieving process a smooth one for you. Or maybe you are so ok with it bc it wasn't your mother or sister that died. Awareness doesn't begin with social media posts from Miami new times. Awareness begins with parents and should also continue with schools, friends, family and programs that educate everyone on the damage and loss of life due to drinking and driving.

Stefano Alessio
Stefano Alessio

As we can see, noting slips through the penetrating gaze of the police. When those over-paid chalk-line artists start investigating, it will only be a question of time before the turn up key facts that will serve to enlighten us all...in no way, shape or form. What exactly does a "report" that tells us "questions abound" really share with me? In my estimation, a big bowl full of niente.

Will Wright
Will Wright

I think alcohol is present on every boat on the water

kamzoori
kamzoori

Research the concept of "right of way" as it pertains to boating. The nature of the impact suggests only one boat and one captain is at fault here.

Manny Rodriguez
Manny Rodriguez

Stop what?? Opening the eyes of the public? This should not have happened. Give the alcoholics family time to grieve? FOH young lives were lost due to carelessness.

Betty Perez
Betty Perez

Of course it was. I'm surprised there aren't more with the drunkards and lushes boating when they shouldn't.

Jesse Macia
Jesse Macia

Please stop this, give the family time to grieve!

Mayren Ocana
Mayren Ocana

I understand that news is news but how about we give this grieving family a little rest? Stop posting about this already. Not everyone needs/wants their loved ones death televised and written about 24/7.

miamitrev2
miamitrev2 topcommenter

Hopefully others will learn from this but I seriously doubt it

Brownie Izaguirre
Brownie Izaguirre

So sorry for the families but, 4th of July weekend.. young people in a boat.. in Florida.. umm yes alcohol was involved.

miamitrev2
miamitrev2 topcommenter

You arent missing anything  it will all come out soon enough Hopefully MNT stays on this story

miamitrev2
miamitrev2 topcommenter

They are posting because its news.  Did you come from a nation with heavy handed censorship?

miamitrev2
miamitrev2 topcommenter

@kamzoori 

Correct.  When you "T-Bone"  another boat it becomes pretty clear who was at fault

cyndi151
cyndi151

Alcoholics family  you really need to wake up!


miamitrev2
miamitrev2 topcommenter

Why, because you know some of them?  Its news and by informing people the facts ((too much drinking, too much speed, not enough awareness of those around them/lack of lookout)) hopefully people will think twice in the future

kamzoori
kamzoori

Again, you're missing the point. The laws on the water are totally different than on land. In this instance the carrera did not have the right of way, the contender did and the carrera was supposed to slow down to allow the contender to pass.

Check the "rules of the road" for vessels and specifically read what "right of way" means. In a nutshell, the boat to your right in a case like this has "the right of way" and you're supposed to slow down or stop to allow them to pass in front of you. If not for these basic "rules of the road" boating in congested areas would be even more chaotic.

miamitrev2
miamitrev2 topcommenter

@kamzoori 

No   Im well aware of the rules and what happened  but carry on anyway. One boat plowed almost completely through another.   Since it was such a "congested area" why were they going so fast  Judge Smails?

kamzoori
kamzoori

Watch how it turns out then get back to me. GPS plotters from both vessels have already been removed and their data is already being downloaded.

This is black and white, getting "t-boned" on the starboard side is open and shut case.

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