Evidence of alcohol found on boat responsible for fatal crash
4 killed, 8 injured in Fourth of July boating accident
MIAMI – Authorities are releasing new details regarding a boat crash that killed four people and injured eight others on the Fourth of July. On Monday authorities confirmed they found evidence of alcohol on board the boat responsible for the crash.
In total, 22 people were on board the three boats involved in the crash that night, about three miles from Dinner Key Marina.
"This is probably the worst accident I've seen in my 11 years," said Jorge Pino of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Andrew Garcia, Victoria Dempsey and Kelsie Karpiac were riding in the same boat that T-boned a second boat. Jason Soleimani was on that boat and was also killed.
The family of Catherine Payan remains at her bedside as she remains in critical condition with a severe brain injury. Payan was on the first boat with four other people. Three were killed.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Karpiac family that we know," said Patrick O'Connel, Payan's stepfather.
Pino confirmed Monday that the boat Payan was on was traveling at a high speed and was going in circles after the crash. Capt. Burt Korpela of Atlantis Marine Towing and Salvage was able to pull up beside the boat while First Mate Vincent Morenza jumped on board the 31' Contender and brought it to a stop.
Pino said the men discovered two unconscious females in the boat full of blood, while the others were ejected into the water.
"Remember, there is no speed limit on the waterways of Biscayne Bay," said Pino. "So you can go fast if you want to go fast, but there are certain statutes that cover 'too fast for conditions'. If the conditions around you don't allow you to go fast then you shouldn't go fast. It is the responsibility of the captain to maintain and know those rules so he won't violate those rules."
It is unclear at this time who was driving the boat that caused the accident.
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