TOMS RIVER — Initially charged last September, a Morris County man was indicted Wednesday by an Ocean County grand jury in relation to his operation of a pontoon boat in a crash that killed one passenger a year ago.

Juan Fernandez II, 19, of the Towaco section of Montville, is charged with death by vessel, strict liability vehicular homicide, and assault by vessel, according to a release Thursday from the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office.

The crash on the Barnegat Bay in the area of Toms River on June 13, 2021, resulted in the death of Corey Molinari, 19, of the Whippany section of Hanover Township. Fernandez was 18 at that time.

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Molinari had been ejected from the boat, while at least six other occupants had to be treated for injuries.

Fernandez was arrested last Sept. 9.

Corey Molinari
Corey Molinari
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The prosecutor's office said an investigation revealed that he had been consuming alcohol on board the boat, and a forensic analyst estimated his blood alcohol content at the time of the crash to be between .13% and .15%, close to twice New Jersey's legal limit of .08% to operate a motor vehicle or other vessel.

Fernandez's father, Juan Fernandez Sr., 59, also of Towaco, has been indicted on a charge of hindering apprehension or prosecution, as investigators allege that he provided false information to detectives about the case involving his son.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com

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