NJ man charged with killing friend in reckless, intoxicated boat mishap
A 24-year-old has been charged with killing his friend in a boating accident this summer in Lake Hopatcong.
Police had previously charged Lake Hopatcong resident Nicholas Zarantonello with boating under the influence after his friend, 24-year-old Jason Gill fell off the pontoon about 7:40 p.m. on Aug. 3. Gill, however, did not resurface and the body of the Mount Arlington man was found two days later.
Now he's criminal charges that could send him to prison.
Morris County prosecutors on Thursday said Zarantonello was further charged with second-degree death by vessel after investigators determined that he had been "operating the vessel recklessly and while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs."
New Jersey 101.5 did not know Thursday whether Zarantonello had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
The weekend search operation used a helicopter, sonar sub-surface detection equipment, the State Police TEAMS Unit and rescue boats from the Jefferson Fire Department. Gill's body was found by a boater about 6:30 a.m. on Aug. 5.
Gill received a torrent of remembrances on a GoFundMe page seeking funds for his funeral expenses.
"Jason was what every organization dreams of having in an employee, co-worker and friend," Tri-County Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, where Gill worked as an X-ray technician, said in a statement posted on the site. "His light was so powerful that he had the ability to make everyone around him happier and their day brighter. We can only hope to strive in being as amazing as he was."
Gill was a 2013 graduate of Roxbury High School.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.