Boating victim’s family ‘shattered’ by Hudson River crash

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The parents of a bride-to-be killed in a boating accident on the Hudson River say poor lighting on a barge, not drunkenness, could have been responsible for the crash.

In a statement issued the day before Lindsey Stewart’s funeral, her mother and stepfather and the parents of a second victim complained that there was a “rush” to blame Jojo John, who was piloting the powerboat that hit a barge Friday night, the Associated Press reported.

The stationary barge was carrying construction materials for the $3.9 billion project to build a new Tappan Zee Bridge across the Hudson.

Investigators have said that based on witness statements, they suspect that John, 35, who was injured, was intoxicated. He has been charged with vehicular manslaughter.

But the families, after saying they were “shattered” by the accident that killed Stewart and Mark Lennon two weeks before the wedding, said: “Compounding our agony is the rush, by some, to cast blame on or even malign the victims. While police have issued serious charges against the boat’s driver, toxicology results supporting those charges will not be available for days.”

They said their conversations with survivors of the crash, including groom-to-be Brian Bond, made clear that the passengers “had consumed very little alcohol and considered themselves sober.”

They were all “mature, respected professionals,” the parents said. Stewart, Lennon and Bond were all 30.

It was also clear, the parents said, that “none of them saw the barge. They did not brace for impact and could not identify what they had hit — even after impact.”

Investigators have said they are looking into whether the barge was properly lighted. The Coast Guard and the state Thruway Authority, which is building the bridge, have said it was. The Thruway Authority added lighting after the crash.

Click here for the full report.

Click here for a New York Times report.


6 comments on “Boating victim’s family ‘shattered’ by Hudson River crash

  1. enginecom

    Boating at night is dangerous. I have been out and almost hit barges sitting near bridge work projects. They were not lighted. Remember seeing a nice lobster boat that hit a barge at 13kts. The steering wheel was bent into the dash leading me to believe there were injuries. The front of the boat was smashed 3 feet back and the engine moved forward a couple inches. I heard they were able to motor back by themselves. Hitting large objects at night or in a fog can be deadly as we saw in this instance. I for one will watch how this plays out.


    The fact is that barges are NOT REQUIRED to have lights on them.
    The barge industry has been against lighting barges forever.
    The tow has to be lit — but not the barges.
    Many many accidents have been because of no lights.
    Similar to the law that says school buses do not need seat belts for our children— how much common sense is this????????
    God bless our CONGRESS they know better than us. Sarcasm here.
    jim davies

  3. tigerpilot

    The barge was properly lit and location was published in Notice to Mariners. The fact that someone decided to go for a joyride after drinking anything is unfortunate. The vehicular manslaughter charge might be a stretch but the barge was legally in the river.

  4. MMerc

    The vehicular manslaughter charge really isn’t a stretch. New York’s Penal Law §125.12 (1) provides in part: A person is guilty of vehicular manslaughter in the second degree when he or she causes the death of another person, and operates a vessel or public vessel in violation of paragraph (b), (c), (d) or (e) of subdivision two of section forty-nine-a of the navigation law, and as a result of such intoxication or impairment by the use of a drug, or by the combined influence of drugs or of alcohol and any drug or drugs, operates such motor vehicle, vessel or public vessel in a manner that causes the death of such other person.

  5. 289cobra1

    On a dark night with a Large back/brown barge, moored a distance from the bridge, poorly lit, which blends in with the shoreline, anyone would have difficulty seeing the barge. I have come upon barges at night and had difficulty seeing the barge, fortunately I have had moonlight to see the barge. I feel for the family of this unfortunate accident. Yesterday I saw three barges near the bridge two of which were 1000+ feet away from the brige on the edge of the channel. There needs to be better lighting on moored barges.

  6. jim davies

    The crime is the government letting the barge companies get by without lighting the barges.

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