Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe announced today
an 18-count indictment has been handed up against Jojo K. John, 35, of Nyack in connection with the fatal
boat crash on the Hudson River on July 26th. Zugibe’s statement said
John’s blood alcohol level was .15, nearly twice the legal limit of .08 and traces
of cocaine were found in his system.
The nighttime crash into a construction barge anchored near the Tappan Zee Bridge claimed the lives of bride to be Lindsey Stewart of Piermont and her fiancée’s best man, Mark Lennon of Pearl River.
The charges against John include:
- Two counts of Vehicular Manslaughter in the First Degree, class “C” Felonies
- Four counts of Vehicular Manslaughter in the Second Degree, class “D” Felonies
- Two counts of Manslaughter in the Second Degree, class “C” Felonies
- Two counts of Criminally Negligent Homicide, class “E” Felonies
- Two counts of Vehicular Assault in the First Degree, class “D” Felonies
- Four counts of Vehicular Assault in the Second Degree, class “E” Felonies
- Two counts of Operating a Vessel Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs, Misdemeanors
“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,” said Zugibe. “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 indictment charges that John, who was operating a 19-foot Stingray powerboat on the Hudson River, near the Village of Piermont, south of the Tappan Zee Bridge, crashed the vessel into a construction barge at 10:40 p.m. and the force of the impact threw Stewart and Lennon into the river. John and three other people on the boat suffered serious injuries
No date has been set for arraignment on the charges.
The families of Stewart and Lennon released the following statement through Facebook Thursday:
"We are not surprised by the news of Jo Jo John’s indictment yesterday. We are disappointed that the office of The District Attorney focused its attention on the behavior of Jo Jo John to the exclusion of anyone else. We continue to believe that the owners and operators of the barges where this accident happened share responsibility for the happening of this accident. Not only was the lighting on the barges insufficient or non-existent on the night of this accident but the contractors using the barges were warned in advance of this tragedy that boaters operating at night in the vicinity of the Tappan Zee Bridge could not see the barges. Had they heeded this warning and placed sufficient lighting on the barges this accident could have been avoided. We do not understand why this investigation did not include all culpable parties."
Related articles ----