TOMS RIVER – An 18-year-old has been charged with vehicular homicide after a fatal boat crash killed someone and injured four others, police said.
The New Jersey State Police Marine Services Bureau responded to Antiqua Avenue on June 13 around 1:13 a.m. about a serious vessel crash in Barnegat Bay.
The Toms River Police Department and local first responders were on scene treating four occupants for non-life-threatening injuries. A fifth occupant, Corey T. Molinari, 19, of Whippany, was airlifted to Jersey Shore Medical Center where he later succumbed to his injuries.
An investigation led by the Troop “C” Criminal Investigation Office, along with the NJSP Crime Scene Investigations Unit and investigators from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office revealed that Juan A. Fernandez II, 18, of Towaco, was operating a 2014 Bennington Pontoon boat in the Barnegat Bay when he hit the Intracoastal Waterway Marker #26 head on.
He was able to navigate the boat to Antiqua Avenue after the crash where he met Toms River police and first responders.
According to police, Fernandez initially said there were six people on the boat. It was later discovered that there were nine people on the boat and three left prior to the crash. At the time of the crash two occupants were ejected, police said.
Fernandez was charged with Vehicular Homicide (2nd Degree), Strict Liability Vehicular Homicide (3rd Degree), and Hindering (Third Degree). He was arrested in Boonton on September 8 and was taken to NJSP Tuckerton Station where he was processed and then later lodged at the Ocean County Jail pending a bail detention hearing.
The charges referenced are mere accusations, and the accused is considered innocent until proven guilty.