NBC 4 New York
Audio between first responders and the dispatcher in the search for the boat that crashed into a barge on the Hudson River was released Wednesday, the same day the the family of the victims issued their first public statements. Jen Maxfield reports.
The 35-year-old man who was piloting the boat in the Hudson River crash that killed a bride-to-be and her groom's best man appeared in court Wednesday to answer to charges of vehicular manslaughter and vehicular assault.
Jojo John walked into the Orangetown Courthouse in Orangeburg, Rockland County, N.Y., Wednesday with a team of lawyers and several family members. He was wearing a neck brace.
John did not speak to reporters, but defense attorney David Nahrain said outside the courthouse his client wanted to extend his condolences to the victims.
Authorities said there was probable cause that John was intoxicated when he was crashed the 21-foot Stingray into a construction barge near the Tappan Zee Bridge on July 26.
There were four other people on board the boat, including Lindsey Stewart, 30, and fiance Brian Bond, 36, who were set to be married Aug. 10. Bond's best man, 30-year-old Mark Lennon, was also on the boat, along with another friend.
Stewart and Lennon were thrown overboard in the boat crash and killed.
Their families have said that the passengers on the boat "had consumed very little alcohol and considered themselves sober," and pleaded for information from boaters familiar with the crash scene.
Stewart's and Lennon's families also said in the statement, "Compounding our agony is the rush, by some, to cast blame on or even malign the victims."
The families asked Hudson River boaters to submit information about the barges in that area, suggesting they were not properly lit.
John's lawyer David Nahrain said he was also conducting an independent investigation and asked boaters and witnesses to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The New York State Thruway Authority and the Coast Guard have said the barge lighting appeared to be functioning normally and met all regulations.
Prosecutors asked the judge Wednesday for a one-month continuation to conduct a felony investigation. John is due back in court Sept. 25.