Underage Towaco, NJ man was drunk in fatal boat crash on Barnegat Bay in Toms River, NJ
An underage man from Towaco has been indicted by an Ocean County Grand Jury for his drunk driving that caused a boat crash along the Barnegat Bay in Toms River that killed a man last year.
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said that the investigation into the June 13, 2021 crash learned that 19-year-old Juan Fernandez II had consumed alcohol while driving the pontoon boat.
When Fernandez, II was brought to Community Medical Center in Toms River following the crash, around 9:32 am, he consented to a draw of his blood which showed that his blood alcohol content was .037%.
Prosecutor Billhimer said that the State then brought in Robert J. Pandina, Ph.D, a forensic psycho-pharmacologist, to analyzed the toxicology findings and upon further review, it was learned that Fernandez' BAC at the time of the collision was between .13% and .15%.
The boat crash occurred in the middle of the night as Toms River Police and New Jersey State Police responded around 1:13 am to Antiqua Avenue where 19-year old Corey Molinari was lying after having been tossed from the boat when Fernandez struck a cement channel marker, according to an investigation by the OCPO Vehicular Homicide Unit, New Jersey State Police Investigation Office from Troop C, and the NJSP Crime Scene Investigation Unit.
Molinari, from Whippany, suffered serious injuries including severe head trauma and was flown to Jersey Shore University Medical Center where he later passed away.
There were six other people on the boat who were treated at the scene for various injuries.
Fernandez was arrested at his home on September 9, 2021, brought to the NJSP Tuckerton Station where he was processed, then brought to the Ocean County Jail, and then released due to New Jersey's Bail Reform Laws.
On Wednesday, Fernandez, II, was indicted for Death by Vessel, Strict Liability Vehicular Homicide, and Assault by Vessel.
While police were investigating the boat crash, Prosecutor Billhimer said that Fernandez II’s father, Juan A. Fernandez, Sr., 59, of Towaco, was questioned by law enforcement in connection with this investigation and as it turned out, he provided false information to Detectives so, he has been indicted for Hindering Apprehension or Prosecution.
Prosecutor Billhimer also announced that Ocean County Senior Assistant Prosecutor Robert Cassidy is handling the case on behalf of the State.