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Hudson River BUI Defendant Pleads Not Guilty

Man Who Crashed Boat on Hudson in Alleged BUI Contests Charges

BUIA New York man piloting a boat with several of his friends on board allegedly committed BUI – boating under the influence – last summer when he crashed his boat into a stationary barge on the Hudson River.

Jojo John, 35, entered a plea of not guilty at his arraignment on Wednesday, November 20th. His lawyer claims that it was not BUI that caused the accident, but poor lighting on the barge.

On July 26th, the 19-foot speed boat John piloted crashed into a construction barge that was working on the Tappan Zee Bridge. Two passengers – bride-to-be Lindsey Stewart, 30, and the groom’s best man Mark Lennon, 30 – were killed in the crash. Four other passengers, including the groom, Brian Bond, and John himself, were injured in the crash.

Calls to emergency dispatch reveal that rescue crews spent 12 minutes trying to find the boat, an allegation that backs up John’s allegation that the lighting was too poor to pilot the boat safely. The US Coast Guard stated that the barge’s lighting met federal safety standards.

Prosecutors allege that John had a blood alcohol content of 0.15, which is twice the legal limit. He also had traces of cocaine in his system.

Other details, such as the boat’s speed, statements from John and his friends, and other evidence in the fatal BUI case have not been released yet. However, statements from family members suggest that they, too, also blame the poor lighting conditions at the time, but that they believe John must take responsibility for his lack of sobriety.

John officially faces felony BUI charges, indicted by a grand jury, for first-degree vehicular manslaughter, second-degree vehicular manslaughter, negligent homicide, and operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

If convicted, he faces a maximum of 15 years in state prison. Although he has not met his $250,000 bond, he is out of jail to be treated in the hospital for his injuries.

Boating Under the Influence (BUI) In South Carolina

South Carolina DUI laws state that it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcoholdrugs (legal or illegal) or any combination of alcohol and drugs. However, prosecutors must prove someone’s physical or mental ability to drive a car was impaired beyond a reasonable doubt. The penalties for driving under the influence of drugs are identical to the penalties for drinking and driving.

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources does not list the boating and alcohol laws among its boating regulations. Boaters beware: You can be arrested for boating, sailing, or simply being in control of your boat while under the influence.

Penalties for Boating Under the Influence (BUI) include:

  • jail time,
  • alcohol education programs, such as ADSAP,
  • community service,
  • job loss, and
  • suspension from operating a water vehicle for up to 2 years.

The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) for both driving and boating in South Carolina is under 0.08. If your BAC is 0.08 or above, you will be assumed intoxicated. However, boaters or sailors who have a blood alcohol level between .05 and .08 may be convicted for boating under the influence when deemed intoxicated based upon other tests such as a field sobriety test.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Charges of BUI and DUI in South Carolina

It is important to know that South Carolina law prohibits operating any kind of motor vehicle, including a boat, under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If your blood alcohol content reads 0.08 or above, you will be presumed intoxicated. If you have been charged with boating under the influence (BUI), you could feel scared or alone. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm have helped people who face DUI charges since 1996. We offer free, confidential consultations so you can discuss the facts of your case with impunity. Contact us for help today. 803.252.4800



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