Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez was operating his speeding boat while under the influence of alcohol when it crashed into a jetty off the coast of Miami Beach last September, killing the 24-year-old All-Star player and his two passengers, investigators concluded.
The vessel was traveling at more than 65 miles an hour and Fernandez was over the legal limit for alcohol and had evidence of cocaine in his system when his boat crashed while traveling at more than 65 miles an hour, the Sun-Sentinel newspaper said, citing a report issued today by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
“Fernandez operated the [vessel] with his normal faculties impaired, in a reckless manner, in the darkness of night, in an area with known navigational hazards such as the rock jetties and channel markers,” the newspaper cited the report saying in its conclusion.
Fernandez, along with Jesus Macias, 27, and Eduardo Rivero, 25, died when the 32-foot center console Sea Vee Kaught Looking slammed into the north jetty at Government Cut off Miami Beach about 3 a.m. on Sept. 25.
Prior to the crash the trio had been at a bar, American Social Bar & Kitchen, along the south bank of the Miami River, near Brickell Avenue in downtown Miami.
“We want to emphasize that this accident was a tragedy for all concerned,” said a statement from Christopher Royer, a lawyer at Krupnick Campbell, which represents the survivors of Macias and Rivero.
“Though fault has been determined officially, the families of Emilio and Eduardo are not vindictive and simply hope that an amicable settlement of the lawsuit can be reached between the parties as swiftly as possible so as not to prolong the final closure for the many people who have been impacted.”
The death of the Cuban-born Fernandez rocked the baseball world and South Florida’s Cuban community, where he was especially beloved. He survived a raft voyage to get to the United States, and his charisma and enthusiasm for baseball and life made him a local hero.
Just days before his death, Fernandez announced that he and his girlfriend, Maria Arias, were expecting a child. The baby, Penelope, was born Feb. 24.