The families of the two people killed July 26 in a boat crash on the Hudson River have suggested that poor lighting on the barge, not pilot drunkenness, may have been responsible for the crash.
Lindsey Stewart, who was to have been married on August 10, and Mark Lennon, the best man, were killed when a speedboat they were riding on crashed into a construction barge on the river, ABC Eyewitness News reports. Jojo John, the pilot of the boat, has been charged with vehicular manslaughter. Police say they suspect he was intoxicated, though toxicology results are not yet available. But Stewart’s and Lennon’s parents, in a written statement, say they believe inadequate lighting on the barge may have been the cause of the accident.
Survivors of the crash are also raising questions about the lighting conditions. Daniel Dilorgi, one of the boat passengers, said he was looking in the direction of the barge before the crash but never saw it, even when the 19-foot speed boat plowed into it, according to Eyewitness News. The speedboat passengers had no chance to brace for impact.
The New York Thruway Authority says the barge’s lighting was up to code and met all Coast Guard requirements. But area residents who saw the barge before the crash felt the lighting was not bright enough. An attorney for two of the surviving speedboat passengers said, “Evidently there’s something wrong with the code. If you can’t see that barge and the only way you can see it is through radar, then maybe this accident shouldn’t have happened.”
In their statement, the Stewart and Lennon families ask anyone who might have seen anything on or before the night of the accident (Friday, July 26) to contact them firstname.lastname@example.org.