MATTITUCK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island man was charged with boating while intoxicated in a deadly powerboat crash on the East End on Sunday night.
Southold Police said the boat operator, Frank DiStefano, 48, was drunk when he slammed the 39-foot vessel into a bulkhead just east of James Creek Marina in Mattituck.
Friends of the victims said the couples were out enjoying a beautiful evening on Long Island Sound. The boat crashed as they headed to shore just after 9:15 p.m.
The boat hit with such force 27-year-old Kelley Blanchard was killed. CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan spoke with Blanchard’s mother on Monday from their Riverhead apartment.
“Right now, I am with my daughter, Megan, who was also aboard the boat. She is going to have surgery soon,” the mother said.
Megan Blanchard was seriously injured and taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center. The two others aboard, DiStefano and Nick Soulas of Jamesport, were airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital.
“I’m not doing well. I just lost my sister, so not so good. I don’t know what anyone can do for us right now, but thank you,” Megan Blanchard said.
The watercraft may have been going too fast for conditions, Southold Police said, adding they are charging DiStefano with BWI.
Following the crash, state Sen. Jim Gaughrin again called for the passage of his proposed legislation that would revoke the driver’s license of anyone convicted of boating while intoxicated.
“Major tragedy, major, an eye opener for people to realize that boating at night and involving it with alcohol is not a good thing,” Southold resident Suzanne Guzman said.
DiStefano owned a Riverhead gym and recently took over a Mattituck pizzeria.
Police said the overwhelming reaction of first responders saved lives.
“The team worked very closely together and expedited their care immediately, so there was no mass panic going on,” Mattituck Fire Chief Ted Webb said.
As the Blanchards deal with their grief, Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said the boat’s driver would be arraigned as soon as medically feasible.