The pilot of a boat that crashed into a barge on the Hudson River killing a bride and her fiancé’s best man, had a blood alcohol level nearly twice the legal, authorities said Thursday.
Jojo John, 35, faces an 18-count indictment in connection with the fatal July crash near the Tappan Zee Bridge.
He is charged with having a blood alcohol level of 0.15 while piloting the boat, as well as having traces of cocaine in his system.
The charges include two counts of vehicular manslaughter and two counts of criminally negligent homicide and two counts of operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Stewart and Bond were due to be married two weeks later, with Lennon as the best man.
“The defendant 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,” Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said in a statement.
“Drinking and driving is a lethal mix, as it appears to have been in this incident, which left several families shattered. My office will aggressively prosecute this case to ensure that justice is done.”
The accused was operating a 19-foot Stingray near the Piermont on the evening of July 26 when the boat struck a barge in place for the Tappan Zee Bridge reconstruction project.
John’s attorney has claimed no one saw the barge in the dark water, as it wasn’t well lit.
The victims' families issued a statement after the crash challenging the assumption that alcohol was the primary cause.
Refering to the crash survivors said “none of them saw the barge. They did not brace for impact and could not identify what they hit.”
The Coast Guard maintained that the barge's lights met federal requirements.
John was arrested while recovering at Nyack Hospital. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison on the top counts.
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