1 Body Found, 1 Missing After Boating Accident Near Tappan Zee Bridge
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A woman’s body has been pulled from the Hudson River, more than 12 hours after two people vanished and four others were injured, after a late-night crash on the Hudson River near the Tappan Zee Bridge.
The body of the bride-to-be, Lindsey Stewart, 30, is believed to have been recovered on Saturday; Stewart went missing following the boat accident Friday night, along with Mark Lennon who was to serve as the best man at her wedding, CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported.
Authorities plan to continue the search for Lennon on Sunday morning.
On Saturday afternoon the Rockland County Undersheriff announced that Jojo K. John, 35, of Nyack faces vehicular manslaughter charges in connection with the accident, WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reported.
John was arraigned in his hospital bed on Saturday.
John is believed to be the driver of the boat involved in the fatal accident, authorities believe that he may have been intoxicated at the time of the crash, CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported.
“We have probable cause to believe he operated the boat while intoxicated, that is the basis of the charges,” a Sheriff’s Department representative told CBS 2.
It was not immediately clear if alcohol was present on the boat at the time of the accident, CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu reported.
“I don’t have any information about that, obviously we’re still investigating,” the spokesman said, “We’ve impounded the boat and it’s still being searched.”
As CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported, watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New York were notified around 10:40 p.m. Friday of a 21-foot Stingray recreational boat striking three barges tied together in the river. The barge was involved in the construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge about 200 feet north of the scene.
All of those onboard were adults, authorities said.
Stewart and Lennon were a bride-to-be and the soon-to-be best man at her wedding scheduled for August 10 , 1010 WINS reported. The groom-to-be was also injured, authorities said.
The impact of the crash was so great that it apparently ejected the man and woman, police said.
Coast Guard, NYPD, New York State Police, Westchester, and other police and fire departments agencies launched a search from sea and air after the accident. The search was called off a few hours later, but resumed around 9 a.m.
A worker at a nearby marina described what he saw after the accident.
“When they brought injured people back from the accident there was a man he had a neck brace; another man with a neck brace,” said marina worker Anthony Apolito. “One guy came off the boat and his face was completely drenched in blood.”
After the search resumed, Stewart’s mother and stepfather came to the scene and dropped roses into the water but declined to speak with reporters on Saturday afternoon.
“I can’t talk about it right now,” said Stewart’s mother, Carol Stewart-Kosik.
Lennon’s family members waited anxiously for news that they feared would be heartbreaking.
“He was a great guy, he is a great guy hopefully,” said Lennon’s uncle Warren Wright.
Stewart and her fiancé — Brian Bond, 35 – were scheduled to be married Aug. 10. They had known each other since meeting in church at the age of 10 and fell in love about three years ago, the mother and stepfather said.
The wedding was planned for that same Pearl River church, it was to be conducted by the same pastor who confirmed the bride and groom when they were growing up.
Bond was the one who called 911 from the boat, Stewart’s mother and stepfather said. He suffered serious head injuries in the accident, they said.
Stewart’s stepfather, Walter Kosik, said the couple has a house together on the water – and had big plans.
“They’re both very, workaholics, so I know they were planning a good future together,” he said.
Stewart and Bond were out with members of the wedding party, Stewart’s mother and stepfather said.
They said they were awoken by police early Saturday morning with news of the accident.
Meanwhile, boaters who were at the scene Friday night told CBS 2’s Burrell the conditions were fairly good Friday night. But while there is lighting on the barges, it is especially difficult to see – particularly when boaters are close to the bridge, the boaters told Burrell.
“Last night the conditions were good, the water was calm, but if you don’t see it, it’s hard to see out there,” boater Tom Graff said, “There’s a barge out there, it’s got very limited lighting on it and if you don’t know it’s there it’s very easy to run into it.”
The four injured people were initially taken to Nyack Hospital in Nyack.
As the boat stood suspended in the air and surrounded by caution tape, a large hole was visible and blood was spotted on some of the seats, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria and WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported.
The pre-wedding tragedy has sparked a multi-agency investigation to determine if conditions on the water were an accident waiting to happen.
Tappan Zee Constructors reported to the Thruway Authority that all Coast Guard lighting requirements were met and that barges were properly lit on Friday, CBS 2 reported.
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