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Boating Accidents

Boating is a recreational activity and for too many, the consequences of not operating a boat safely can be deadly.  Boats are not toys. Frequently those on board are distracted by the fun they’re having, not in life vests and drinking alcohol.  Fun, not safety, is too often the name of the game. We represent boating accident victims and we have seen the toll they can take.

One boating accident in July in New York on the Hudson River demonstrates boating’s lethal potential. It left two people dead and the man driving the boat is facing charges of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.

Night Time Boat Trip Turns Fatal

Jojo K. John and those in his 21 foot boat were probably in a good mood.  After all, two of the passengers in the boat, Lindsey Stewart and Brian Bond, were getting married two weeks later.  Also in the boat was the best man, Mark Lennon, along with two others. Only two people in the boat were wearing life jackets.

The boat left Piermont, New York, to cross the river to Tarrytown, late on Friday, July 26.  On the river, between those two points is the aging Tappan Zee Bridge.  Pilings were in the process of being built so a second bridge can be constructed to relieve bridge traffic.

At about 10:40 pm, with John at the helm, the boat smashed into a construction barge under the bridge. Stewart and Lennon were killed. Bond suffered a fractured eye socket, was thrown from the boat and swam to shore. Everyone on the boat was either injured or killed.

John is charged with 18 counts in a criminal indictment unsealed in November.  It cites a toxicology report indicating he had a blood alcohol level of 0.15, nearly twice the legal limit. Thomas P. Zugibe, the Rockland County district attorney, said in the indictment that there was also evidence of cocaine in Mr. John’s system. John “is accused of taking the helm of his boat while under the influence of alcohol, being unable to maintain situational awareness and striking a construction barge,” the indictment said.

Boat Driver Denies Responsibility

John’s lawyer states he will dispute the toxicology findings in future criminal proceedings.  He puts the blame on poorly lit barges that the boat struck. The morning after the accident, Piedmont Fire Department Assistant Chief Daniel Goswick said in a news conference the barges were lit with anchor lights, but they were difficult to see the previous night.

Who is to blame for this accident has yet to be determined.  John is innocent of the criminal charges until proven guilty. He and those involved in the bridge construction may all carry responsibility for the accident, the injuries and deaths it caused. No matter who is at fault, this case shows boating and boating safety are not a game.

Contact Our Office

If you or a loved one have been injured in a boating accident, to arrange a free initial consultation, contact us online or call our office at (302) 777-1000. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will come to your home or the hospital, if necessary.