On Friday, the operator of a speedboat carrying five other people collided with a barge, the impact threw the bride-to-be, Lindsey Stewart, and the best man, Mark Lennon, overboard and injured the groom and two others. The driver of the boat, Jojo K. John was charged with vehicular homicide on Saturday.
“We have probable cause to believe that he operated the boat while intoxicated,” said Robert Van Cura, undersheriff of the Rockland County Sheriff’s Office.
John was arraigned at an area hospital on one count of first-degree vehicular manslaughter and three counts of second-degree vehicular assault, Van Cura told reporters.
More charges may come once Lennon is recovered.
On Friday night the six friends boarded a 21-foot Stingray, in the village of Piermont, for a short trip across the river to Tarrytown, according to reports. The boat hit the side of a barge carrying construction materials for a new bridge located about 200 feet south of the Tappan Zee Bridge, which is about 25 miles North of Manhattan.
Upon impact, Stewart and Lennon were hurled overboard while the others remained in the boat. Only two of the people aboard the boat were wearing life jackets.
The groom, Brian Bond, was knocked unconscious and is hospitalized with a fractured eye socket, and three others including the driver remain hospitalized with head injuries.
The body of a female was found this morning not far from the riverbank and it matches the description of Stewart, according to Sheriff’s Chief William Barbera.
While the body found is believed to be that of Steward, the Rockland County Medical Examiner has to make a positive identification.
Authorities suspended the air and water search for Lennon at 5pm, it will resume at 10 am Sunday morning. Lennon was supposed to be the best man at the wedding of Bond and Stewart’s scheduled for August 10, approximately two weeks away.
According to Walter Kosik, Stewart’s stepfather, Bond was hospitalized at Westchester Medical Center with head injuries. Kosik visited Bond on Saturday.
“He was in no condition to talk.”
Bond and Stewart were long time acquaintances, having known each other since they were children, attending the same church and about three and a half years ago fell in love and planned an August 10 wedding.
“She’s supposed to be married two weeks from today,” said Carol Stewart, Lindsey Stewart’s mother. “It just can’t end like this.”
When Carol Steward received word of her daughter’s accident, she and other family members gathered on the river this morning and prayed for a miracle, leaving white flowers at the scene.
Some of the spectators questioned whether the lighting on the barge may have played a part in the accident.
Craig and Celeste Kmiecik of Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J., who has a boat at Tappan Zee Marina, in Piermont, stated that the water was calm and the night crystal clear, but nonetheless, it was very difficult to see the black barges in the dark.
“If you don’t have radar, there’s no way of seeing what’s in front of you,” Craig Kmiecik said. “No doubt that’s what happened.”
John, who is in Nyack Hospital, was arraigned and remanded to the custody of the Rockland County Sheriff on $250,000 bail, according to official reports.
By: Veverly Edwards