Family of 24-year-old boat crash victim plans funeral

Kelsie Karpiak 1 of 4 people who died in Fourth of July boating accident


MIAMI – On the day after 24-year-old Kelsie Karpiak was supposed to be traveling with her pup, Sandy -- a college graduation present -- to a new job in Jacksonville, her family is planning her funeral.

Karpiak, a University of North Florida graduate, was one of four people killed in a boating accident near Dinner Key Marina on the Fourth of July.

Radio transmissions obtained by the Miami Herald capture the chaos on that July Fourth night as hundreds of boats raced back to various marinas on the dark waters of Biscayne Bay following a fireworks show.

Karpiak was on a 32-foot Contender operated, investigators said, by 23-year-old Andy Garcia, who also died in the accident, when it slammed into a 36-foot Carrera.

Karpiak had worked at LA Fitness in Arlington since 2012 and was looking forward to beginning a job with a dance company. Many of her former co-workers were stunned by her death.

The manager at LA Fitness said Karpiak, who had recently moved back to Miami to help take over the family's dance company business, was the "sweetest girl in the world," and that his employees are very upset. They said they're planning a private vigil to remember Karpiak on Sunday.

Karpiak's mother, Rosanna, got out pictures for the program and was selecting uplifting music for the funeral service.

"I want it to be a celebration," Rosanna Karpiak said. "I don't want it to be mourning. I want everyone to be happy, bright colors and no black. I want it to be a day of celebration."

Rosanna Karpiak said she feels at peace knowing her daughter is with God in heaven. She said she can't imagine going through a tragedy like this without believing in Jesus and looks forward to seeing her daughter in heaven.

Six members of Jose Hanono's family were on the Carrera, including Jason Soleimani, who died on impact.

But amid the grief, there is a story of survival. Hanono's grandchildren -- 5-year-old Emma and her younger sister 2-year-old Ella -- were also on the Carrera, and incredibly, walked away without injury.

But Hanono worries about the emotional impact. Emma and Ella's mother, Dayanara Arias, remains in critical condition.