Man Convicted in Delray Beach Boating Accident Death
It was just after 2:00 a.m. on May 8, 2010, when Mandy J. Romeu of Deerfield Beach, and two passengers, Christopher Smith and Alexandra Smith, boarded Romeu's 34-foot powerboat and for a ride along the Intracoastal Waterway. The boat trip didn't last long.
At 2:30 a.m., the boat was speeding when it crashed into an unlit Coast Guard day beacon located just south of the Atlantic Avenue Bridge. Thirty-one-year-old Christopher Smith of Boynton Beach was thrown overboard. His body was crushed.
At 3:30 a.m., an hour after the Delray Beach boating accident, divers found Smith's body and pulled him from the water. The Palm Beach County medical examiner's report ruled that Christopher Smith died from blunt force trauma and drowning.
At 5:00 a.m. Romeu's blood was drawn. Tests revealed that he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.132.
Romeu had started his evening drinking at The Cove in Deerfield Beach. He later met thirty-eight-year-old Alexandra Smith and her brother Christopher at the Taverna Eros in Delray Beach. He invited the siblings for a ride on his boat.
Romeau, an experienced boater, sped the boat at 30 mph through a "slow speed minimum wake area." He did not activate his vessel's radar and GPS, instruments that are critical for nighttime navigation.
On Thursday, October 25, 2012, a Palm Beach County jury determined that 44-year-old Romeu is criminally responsible for the crash and the Delray Beach boat crash and the resulting death. Romeu was convicted of one count of BUI (boating under the influence) manslaughter and one count of vessel homicide.
Romeu will only be sentenced for BUI manslaughter. He faces between 11 and 15 years in prison.
Last June, Romeu agreed to a settlement of $948,000 in a Florida wrongful death suit brought against him by Christopher Smith's estate.