VIDEO: Suspect in fatal New York crash pleads guilty

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The New York man who was driving a boat that crashed into a barge on the Hudson River near the Tappan Zee Bridge, leaving two people dead, pleaded guilty to two counts of vehicular manslaughter.

Jojo John, 36, of Nyack, entered the guilty pleas on Monday in connection with the July 2013 deaths of bride-to-be Lindsey Stewart, 30, of Piermont, N.Y., and her fiancé's best man, Mark Lennon, 30, of Pearl River, N.Y.

The plea deal carries one year behind bars for each count and the years are to be served consecutively, News 12 Westchester reported. John remains free on bond pending sentencing, which is scheduled for Sept. 16.

Prosecutors say John was under the influence of drugs and alcohol on July 26, 2013, when he slammed the boat into a barge on the Hudson River that was being used for construction on the new Tappan Zee Bridge. They say John's blood alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit on the night of the crash. John suffered a fractured skull and spine injury.

John's lawyer, David Narain, had said his client was driving safely and crashed into the barge because they weren't lit properly. The Coast Guard said the barge was properly lit on the night of the crash.

In a statement, the families of Lennon and Stewart said they believe the leniency in John's sentence is attributable to evidence against the barge company.

"We are extremely saddened to know that even though the Rockland County District Attorney's Office has evidence which proves that the barge companies are at fault because they ignored warnings that due to inadequate lighting this was an accident waiting to happen, it chose to ignore such evidence while only holding one party accountable for their actions."


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