The former boat captain accused of a reckless crash at Haulover Sandbar and leaving without searching for a passenger hurled overboard has been sitting in a Broward jail for a week — accused of drunken violence at a Fort Lauderdale-area hotel.
Dean Sealey, 53, allegedly caused $698.89 of damage to computer and TV screens at the Royal Beach Palace Hotel Tuesday. Sealey’s still in jail, being held for Miami-Dade County, because investigators believe he caused the death of 27-year-old Zachary Forte at Haulover in the first minutes of Sept. 17.
And the other surviving boat passenger from that night told investigators Sealey “had been drinking Long Island iced teas and snorting a white, powdery substance she believed to be methamphetamine from the console” before the crash.
That’s from the probable cause affidavit released Monday. Sealey’s charged with BUI/manslaughter/failure to render aid, vessel homicide/failure to render aid and leaving the scene of an accident. Online jail records say his bond on those charges is $600,000.
Broward County court records say Sealey’s got a past of skipping out on restaurant checks (several petit theft convictions) and drunken criminal mischief.
Comrades at Miami Beach Monty’s, Deserted at Haulover
Jordan Cooper didn’t know that or anything about Sealey before meeting him while at Monty’s Restaurant in South Beach the night of Sept. 16. She knew Forte, a resident of Sealey’s native state, North Carolina. She said Sealey invited them onto a 21-foot Robalo boat for a trip up to Fort Lauderdale to hang out on his larger boat.
The affidavit says video from Miami Beach Marina shows them getting around security gates to the dock and the tall, older white male was dressed as Cooper described (red tank top, dark shorts, light baseball cap).
Cooper said they stopped at Monument Island for casual floating. That’s where Cooper said Sealey snorted the “white, powdery substance” and he’d already been drinking Long Islands.
After leaving Monument Island, Cooper said they went under four bridges at high speed before he cut around the west side of Haulover Sandbar. Investigators say “he was not traveling in the marked channel where vessels are supposed to travel, he was operating the vessel along where the sandbar is located where the water is shallow.”
Sealey crashed into Danger Shoal Marker, Cooper said, launching Sealey, Cooper and Forte from the boat. Cooper got back onto the boat and put the boat into neutral. She said Sealey kept saying, “What do you mean?” when she said Forte was lost. She said she jumped back into the water to look for Forte, but Sealey roared away, leaving Cooper in the water and Forte’s location unknown to both of them..
“Cooper stated (Sealey) wasn’t concerned at all after the crash,” the PC affidavit says.
It was just after midnight, 12:10 a.m., on Sept. 17. Forte would be found 18 hours later. An autopsy found he had a head injury and water in his lungs.
After the crash in Fort Lauderdale
A tip led the Coast Guard to the Robalo, which was tied to a 49-foot boat behind the Serafina Italian Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale.
One person told investigators a man came off the boat, said two people were ejected in an incident in Miami and he skedaddled because he was scared. Another person said Sealey told him he picked up two people, had been in a crash, but the two people had stolen his wallet and phone.
Upon seeing Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers that night — FWC led the investigation — Sealey locked himself into the 49-foot boat and turned off the lights.
Once investigators got to the Robalo, they found its GPS wiped. That’s something a U.S. Coast Guard-licensed captain, which Sealey was until his license expired in 2018, would know how to do.
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