Victims Of Hudson River Boat Accident To Be Paid Last Respects
PEARL RIVER, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The groom who survived a boat crash on the Hudson River that killed his fiancée and best man was out of the hospital Tuesday night, as family and friends prepared to remember his bride-to-be the following day.
As CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis reported, wake services for both victims – Lindsey Stewart and best man Mark Lennon, both 30 – were set for Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, in Pearl River.
Stewart and Lennon had deep ties to the village. Very few eyes were smiling this week in the Irish-American enclave in Rockland County, CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported Tuesday.
“It’s just heartbreak; just sorrow,” a resident said.
Meanwhile, a survivor, John Schumacher, declined to provide interviews as he moved slowly and held an ice pack in his hand.
“It’s a tragedy for everybody involved,” said Schumacher’s wife, Tracy. “Our hearts go out to the victims — all the victims — including my husband, and all the families that have been touched by his horrible, horrible tragedy.”
At Pearl River Florist, owner Stephanie Walker prepared dozens of tributes for the services. She said those ordering flowers have been struggling with what to say on the cards.
“It’s just heartfelt and people are actually speechless, you know?” Walker said.
Stewart and Lennon were with other members of the wedding party, including groom-to-be Brian Bond, 35 – when the boat struck a barge in place for the Tappan Zee Bridge reconstruction project late Friday night.
The Rockland County Medical Examiner’s Office said Stewart died of head injuries and drowning. Lennon drowned, according to the office. Toxicology results were pending.
Bond suffered a head injury in the accident. On Tuesday after leaving the hospital, Bond wore a blue hat and had his arm in a sling as he made a condolence call of the Pearl River home of Lennon’s parents.
Fellow survivors Schumacher and Daniel Dilorgi were also injured. Both have hired attorneys for possible lawsuits against the operators of the barge that their boat hit, in the middle of the river, in the dark.
“So that’s what everyone — us and the authorities — are looking into, as well as possible intoxication of the driver of the boat,” said attorney Nicholas Warywoda.
Boat operator Jojo John, 35, was suspected of being drunk before the crash. He has been charged with manslaughter.
John’s family also expressed sorrow Tuesday.
“This is a tragedy for all of us,” the family said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.”
The Rockland County District Attorney’s Office said it is seeking more serious charges in the case and are waiting for the results of a toxicology report.
Investigators on Tuesday were still piecing together the events of Friday night, which began with drinks and dinner and a restaurant in Piermont and ended with the tragic boat crash.
Investigators have been looking at the boat’s speed, as well as tide and weather conditions. The Rockland County Sheriff’s Office said the barge’s lighting would also be part of the investigation of the crash.
The U.S. Coast Guard said Monday that the barge was equipped with the required lights. But several frequent boaters said they thought the required lighting was insufficient.
Meanwhile, the church that was to have hosted Stewart and Bond’s wedding will be the scene of a funeral instead. Stewart’s family reportedly planned to bury her in the dress she was to wear at the planned Aug. 10 wedding.
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