Deadline Miami

Mangrove branch impales, kills Key Largo man after boat crash

This is the boat that crashed into the mangroves. One man died, another was injured.
This is the boat that crashed into the mangroves. One man died, another was injured. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

A Key Largo man was killed and another man is in serious condition after their boat crashed into the mangroves Wednesday near Jewfish Creek.

A man who lives on a nearby liveaboard sailboat found Steven Douglas Reynolds, 64, dead, impaled on a mangrove branch. That liveaboard, Andy Brown, is being hailed as a hero by witnesses who said Brown paddled his dinghy out to the crashed boat and brought Reynolds and his passenger, Dennis Gobin, to the dock at nearby Gilbert's Resort.

"If it had not been for Andy being awake and outside, there would have been two fatalities," said a witness who wished to remain anonymous.

Brown said Wednesday that he was not ready to talk about what happened.

Gobin, 62, was riding with Reynolds in his 1993, 17-foot Islander open fisherman boat. He was flown by helicopter ambulance to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson memorial Hospital in Miami, said Officer Bobby Dube, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The vessel was rounding the bend of the entrance to the creek from Blackwater Sound some time after 4 a.m. when it crashed, Dube said. Both Reynolds and Gobin were ejected from the boat upon impact.

The men appeared to be en route to Gilbert's Marina, located at mile marker 107.9 on Jewfish Creek. They left the Caribbean Club bayside bar, located at mile marker 104, a few minutes earlier, Dube said.

Rob LeBrun, Gilbert's general manager, said the bar at the resort closed at 11 p.m. Tuesday, so Reynolds and Gobin were probably not going there.

"We have been discussing this all day today, and don't know why they were in the area west of Gilbert's," LeBrun said.

Reynolds' liveaboard trawler is moored at the Creekside Marina, which is on the south side of the creek.

"I assume the two men were en route there," LeBrun said.

Deputies from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, as well as members of the U.S. Coast Guard and firefighters and paramedics with the Key Largo Volunteer Fire Department, responded to the accident.

A celebration of life for Steven Reynolds is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 16 at Creekside Marina.