NJ man charged with vehicular homicide in Barnegat Bay boating crash
A Morris County man is being charged with vehicular homicide for causing a boat crash along the Barnegat Bay in June that killed a Whippany resident and injured four others, New Jersey State Police Colonel Pat Callahan and Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer announced in a joint statement on Thursday.
Juan A. Fernandez II, 18, of Towaco, New Jersey was arrested Wednesday in Boonton, taken to the NJSP Tuckerton Station where he was processed and then was brought to the Ocean County Jail pending a bail detention hearing.
The boat crash took place on June 13.
New Jersey State Troopers with the Marine Services Bureau responded to Antiqua Avenue in Toms River around 1:13 am for the crash and on scene were Toms River Police officers as well as local first responders who were treating the wounded.
Four people were treated for non-life threatening injuries however, 19-year old Corey T. Molinari, of Whippany, who was airlifted to Jersey Shore Medical Center, succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.
The NJSP Troop “C” Criminal Investigation Office led the ensuring investigation with aid from the NJSP Crime Scene Investigations Unit and investigators from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.
Detectives later learned that Juan Fernandez II was operating a 2014 Bennington Pontoon boat in the Barnegat Bay when he struck Intracoastal Waterway Marker #26 head-on.
Police said that Fernandez was able to navigate the vessel following the crash over to Antiqua Avenue where he met Toms River Police and first responders.
Fernandez initially tried to hide the amount of people on board the vessel from investigators but police learned that there weren't 6 on board but 9 with three who were let off the vessel prior to the collision.
Police said that two occupants were ejected at the time of the crash.
Following a subsequent toxicology report on blood obtained from Fernandez on the morning of the crash police charged him with Vehicular Homicide (2nd Degree), Strict Liability Vehicular Homicide (3rd Degree), and Hindering (Third Degree).
New Jersey State Police said that this case is being prosecuted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.