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Boat Operator in Fatal Hudson River Crash Pleads Not Guilty

Jojo John, 35, of Nyack pleaded not guilty of the felony charges against him stemming from the Hudson River boat crash that left two people dead in July.

Jojo John pleads not guilty in Rockland County Court. Photo: Ricky Flores/LoHud.com
Jojo John pleads not guilty in Rockland County Court. Photo: Ricky Flores/LoHud.com
Editor's note: Patch Editor Robin Traum filed this report from the Rockland County Courthouse.

Jojo John, 35, of Nyack pleaded not guilty on the felony charges stemming from the boat crash that killed two people July 26 during his arraignment at the Rockland County Courthouse Wednesday morning.

John faces an 18-count indictment that was handed down earlier this month. He was charged with being drunk while piloting the 19-foot speed boat as it crashed into a construction barge near the Tappan Zee bridge. Lindsey Stewart of Piermont and Mark Lennon of Pearl River were killed and the other four people in the boat, including John, were injured.

Bail was set for John at $50,000 bond or $25,000 cash. He is due back in court Jan. 3 for a determination of readiness. The attorneys in the case will make motions Jan. 10. 

According to Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe, John tested with a blood-alcohol level of 0.15 percent and had traces of cocaine in his system. The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.08 percent. 

A large number of family members crowded into the courtroom. Check back with Patch for further details. 
Bruce Cohen November 20, 2013 at 02:04 PM
Even if the lighting on the barges was inadequate, due to the fact of his blood alcohol content and presence of cocaine in his blood, it was his responsibility to provide safe transportation for the passengers on his boat. I can't think of a rational reason he should be found not guilty.
Rick Langley November 20, 2013 at 02:08 PM
You do wrong, wrong will follow.
Robert Guttman November 20, 2013 at 02:14 PM
I agree with Bruce Cohen. The Rule 6 of The Inland Rules of the Road specifically states that "Every Vessel shall at all times proceed at a safe speed so that she can take proper and effective action to avoid collision and be stopped within a distance appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions." When a vessel collides with an anchored vessel in the dark the operator is considered to have exceeded a "safe speed".

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