Man Indicted In Fatal Ocean County Boat Crash

Juan Fernandez, II (Photo courtesy Ocean County Prosecutor's Office)

  TOMS RIVER – A 19-year-old has been indicted for Death by Vessel after a fatal boat crash killed someone and injured others, officials said.

  Juan Fernandez, II, 19, of Towaco, New Jersey, has been indicted on charges of Death by Vessel, Strict Liability Vehicular Homicide and Assault by Vessel in connection with a boat crash that occurred on June 13, 2021, that resulted in the death of Corey Molinari, 19, of Whippany, New Jersey.

  The New Jersey State Police Marine Services Bureau responded to Antiqua Avenue around 1:13 a.m. on June 13 about a serious vessel crash in Barnegat Bay.

  The Toms River Police Department and local first responders were on scene treating several occupants for non-life-threatening injuries. One occupant, Molinari, was found to be ejected from a pontoon boat and suffered serious bodily injury including severe head trauma. He was airlifted to Jersey Shore Medical Center where he later succumbed to his injuries. At least six other occupants of the boat were identified and treated on scene for various injuries. 

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  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 Fernandez, II was the operator of the pontoon boat when the boat struck a cement channel marker head on.

  Authorities discovered that Fernandez, II, had been drinking alcohol while operating the boat and was brought to Community Medical Center in Toms River where he consented to a draw of his blood at around 9:32 a.m. 

  According to officials, Fernandez, II, blood alcohol content (BAC) was determined to be .037%. However, a forensic psycho-pharmacologist concluded that Fernandez II’s BAC at the time of the collision was between .13% and .15% which is over the state legal limit of .08%.

  On September 9, 2021, Fernandez, II, was arrested at his home without incident. He was transported to New Jersey State Police Tuckerton Station to be processed. He was then transported to the Ocean County Jail, and later released as a consequence of New Jersey Bail Reform.

  During the investigation, Fernandez II’s father, Juan A. Fernandez, Sr., 59, of Towaco, was questioned by law enforcement. Authorities determined that Fernandez, Sr., provided false information to Detectives and as a result has been indicted for Hindering Apprehension or Prosecution

  Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer acknowledges the diligent efforts of Senior Assistant Prosecutor Robert Cassidy who is handling the case on behalf of the State, and commends the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, New Jersey State Police Troop “C” Criminal Investigation Office, New Jersey State Police Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Toms River Township Police Department, for their combined and collective efforts in connection with this investigation resulting in Fernandez’s indictment.

  The charges referenced are mere accusations, and the accused is considered innocent until proven guilty.