Boater charged with numerous counts in Gonzalez fatal accident

December 23, 2016
By Marcy Shortuse

■ BY MARCY SHORTUSE    
An arrest has been made in the June boating death of an Englewood man. According to Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office booking reports, Dalton Matthew Reas, 20, of Wauchula was arrested on Tuesday, Dec. 20.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is handling the investigation but has not yet released its final report. Reas was arrested and charged with boating while under the influence/failure to give information or render aid; vessel homocide/failure to give information or render aid; BUI/causing serious bodily injury to another (two counts); and violation of navigation rules, causing serious bodily injury or death.
Reas turned himself in, and he had his first court appearance Wednesday morning.
Reas has been arrested before. He was charged in Desoto County on October 10, 2014 for driving while under the influence. In September of 2015 he was arrested in Highlands County for possessing liquor as a minor and driving while under the influence (he followed up with a probation violation on that same charge).
Dylan Gonzalez, 23, of Englewood was killed after another vessel crashed into the boat he was on in Placida Harbor, near Eldred’s Marina, the report states. The crash happened around 4:22 a.m. on June 19. William Pfannkuch, 29, was aboard the same boat, a 19-foot Ranger, as Gonzalez. He was injured, according to an FWC report. Pfannkuch was listed as the operator, according to the report.
The other boat was a 20-foot Lake and Bay boat carrying five people. Dalton M. Reas, 20, of Wauchula, was listed as the operator in the report. Other occupants were listed as Kristopher L. Johnson, 20, Taylor N. Tompkin, 21 and Kayla Nichols, 21, all of Wauchula, and Rachel A. Coker, 21, of Myakka City. Coker was also listed as injured in the report. Dylan Gonzalez had just caught his first tarpon on fly and sent this photo (at right) to his girlfriend, Linsey Payton, when the accident occurred. He and his friend, Billy Pfannkuch, were in the boat together when they heard a noise getting closer and closer.
By the time they realized it was a boat – riding on plane in a no-wake zone, allegedly with no running lights – it was too late to get out of the way. Dylan was thrown into the water after impact. Billy, who suffered severe injuries, including a broken pelvis, managed to pull Dylan out of the water into what was left of their boat. He then called 911 and performed CPR on his friend.
According to FWC reports, the Lake and Bay boat operated by Reas struck a channel marker prior to hitting Gonzalez and Pfannkuch’s boat. Reas fled the scene immediately after the accident.