Towaco man, 19, charged with death by ship’s charge in 2021 fatal boating accident in Toms River

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TOMS RIVER — A 19-year-old Towaco man has been charged with death by vessel and other offenses in a June 13, 2021 pontoon boat crash in the township that killed a Seton Hall University student in Whippany .

Wednesday’s indictment against Juan A. Fernandez II in the death of 19-year-old Corey T. Molinari includes charges of strict liability vehicle homicide and assault by ship.

Fernandez’s father, Juan A. Fernandez, Sr., 59, also of the Towaco chapter of Montville, was charged with a charge of troublesome apprehension for allegedly providing false information to law enforcement officers during the investigation, Ocean County District Attorney Bradley D. Billhimer said in A Release.

The early morning head-on crash into a concrete marker of the Intercoastal Waterway — an illuminated canal marker — injured at least six other passengers, Billhimer said. It happened near Route 37.

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Fernandez was able to navigate the 2014 Bennington pontoon boat after the accident to reach rescuers and police, officials said.

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Troopers from the State Police Bureau of Marine Services attended Antiqua Avenue in Toms River at 1:13 a.m. this Sunday after receiving a call about the accident. Toms River police and lifeguards also responded.

Molinari was ejected from the boat and suffered serious bodily injuries and head trauma, Billhimer said.

He was airlifted to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, where he died of his injuries.

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First responders attended to at least six other occupants, all of whom suffered various injuries, Billhimer said. It was unclear if Fernandez was among them.

Fernandez consented to a blood test at 9:30 a.m. that day during the accident investigation. He recorded a blood alcohol level of 0.037%. But a forensic psycho-pharmacologist found through ‘extrapolation analysis’ that Fernandez’s blood alcohol level at the time of the crash hours before was between 0.13% and 0.15%, said Billhimer.

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The legal threshold for intoxication in New Jersey is 0.08%.

Fernandez was charged for the first time after his arrest in September.

The charge of homicide while driving a vehicle carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years if convicted. The other two counts can each result in up to five years in prison.

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Fernandez’s attorney, Matthew James Troiano of Denville, said: “This is a tragic case, stemming from an accident last June which resulted in his death. My sincere condolences to the Molinari family.”

Michael Rubas, a lawyer with an office in Manasquan who represents Fernandez’s father, said: “We learned of the indictment today. It is truly a tragedy for everyone involved.

Molinari, a 2020 graduate of Whippany Park High School, has just completed his freshman year at Seton Hall University’s W. Paul Stillman School of Business, where he majored in eEconomics, according to his obituary.

The boat and car enthusiast was a member of the Spartan Powerboat Club, which held events at Barnegat Bay.

Ken Serrano covers crime, breaking news, investigations and local issues. Contact him at [email protected]

This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Toms River NJ boat crash: Man charged with death by ship’s charge

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