Death By Vessel: NJ Man Indicted for Fatal Barnegat Bay Boating Accident
Authorities in Ocean County say a 19-year-old man from North Jersey has been indicted in connection to a fatal boating accident on Barnegat Bay one year ago.
19-year-old Juan Fernandez, II, of Towaco, Morris County, was indicted by a grand jury on Wednesday on charges of death by vessel, strict liability vehicular homicide, and assault by vessel for the crash during the early morning hours of June 13, 2021, that resulted in the death of 19-year-old Corey Molinari of Whippany, according to Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer.
Officials say on that morning, officers responded to Antiqua Avenue at the bay in Toms River and found that Molinari had been ejected from a pontoon boat and suffered serious bodily injury including severe head trauma. He was airlifted to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune where he subsequently died from his injuries. Six other people were also injured in the incident.
An investigation by numerous law enforcement agencies determined Fernandez, II, was the operator of the pontoon boat when it struck a cement channel marker.
Further investigation revealed that Fernandez, II, had been consuming alcohol while operating the pontoon boat. . . . Fernandez, II, blood alcohol content (BAC) was determined to be .037%. The State retained the services of Robert J. Pandina, Ph.D., a forensic psycho-pharmacologist, who analyzed the toxicology findings of Fernandez, II’s BAC. Dr. Pandina concluded through extrapolation analysis that Fernandez II’s BAC at the time of the collision was between .13% and .15%.
On September 9th of last year, Fernandez II was arrested at his home without incident.
Additionally, Billhimer's office says Fernandez II’s father, Juan A. Fernandez, Sr., also of Towaco, "provided false information to Detectives during the course of the investigation," and he has been indicted for hindering apprehension or prosecution.
The public is reminded that charges are accusations and all persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.