NY boat crash: Criminal case ends, lawsuits await

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NY boat crash: Criminal case ends, lawsuits await
File- This Nov. 20, 2013, shows defendant Jojo John appearing during his arraignment hearing at the Rockland County Courthouse in New City, N.Y. John pleaded guilty in June to vehicular manslaughter and admitted that he was drunk at the time. He's expected to be sentenced Tuesday to two years behind bars. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Ricky Flores, Pool,File)
Defendant Jojo John listens during his arraignment hearing at the Rockland County Courthouse in New City, N.Y., Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013. John is accused of crashing a powerboat into a barge on the Hudson River, killing a bride-to-be and her fiance's best man. John pleaded not guilty to all 18 counts against him, including vehicular manslaughter and operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Ricky Flores, Pool)
Attorney Brian Berkowitz, left, stands with his client Jojo John, center, and fellow attorney David Narain during John's arraignment hearing at the Rockland County Courthouse in New City, N.Y., Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013. John is accused of crashing a powerboat into a barge on the Hudson River, killing a bride-to-be and her fiance's best man. John pleaded not guilty to all 18 counts against him, including vehicular manslaughter and operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs. (AP Photo/The Journal News, Ricky Flores, Pool)
Defense lawyer David Narain speaks with reporters on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013, outside the Rockland County Courthouse in New City, N.Y. A prosecutor said in court that Narain's client, Jojo John of Nyack, acknowledged to rescuers that he had been drinking before he piloted a boat into a barge on the Hudson River, killing a bride-to-be and her fiance's best man. (AP Photo/Jim Fitzgerald)
Brian Bond, center, Lindsey Stewart's fiance, is surrounded by other mourners at the end of Stewart's funeral at the Good Shepard Lutheran Church in Pearl River, N.Y., Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013. The service for Stewart of Piermont is being held at the church in Pearl River where she would have been married Aug. 10. Stewart died Friday night when the powerboat she was in crashed into a barge on the Hudson River. Bond was injured and his best man, Mark Lennon, was killed. The pilot of the boat, Jojo John, was charged with vehicular manslaughter and police said they suspect he was intoxicated. Stewart's and Lennon's parents suggested Thursday that poor lighting on the barge, not drunkenness, was responsible. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Brian Bond, second from left, Lindsey Stewart's fiance, watches as her casket is placed into a hearse at the Good Shepard Lutheran Church in Pearl River, N.Y., Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013. The service for Lindsey Stewart of Piermont is being held at the church in Pearl River where she would have been married Aug. 10. Stewart died Friday night when the powerboat she was in crashed into a barge on the Hudson River. Bond was injured and his best man, Mark Lennon, was killed. The pilot of the boat, Jojo John, was charged with vehicular manslaughter and police said they suspect he was intoxicated. Stewart's and Lennon's parents suggested Thursday that poor lighting on the barge, not drunkenness, was responsible. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
A hearse containing Lindsey Stewart's body arrives at the Good Shepard Lutheran Church in Pearl River, N.Y., Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013. The service for Lindsey Stewart of Piermont is being held at the church in Pearl River where she would have been married Aug. 10. Stewart died Friday night when the powerboat she was in crashed into a barge on the Hudson River. Her fiance was injured and his best man, Mark Lennon, was killed. The pilot of the boat, Jojo John, was charged with vehicular manslaughter and police said they suspect he was intoxicated. Stewart's and Lennon's parents suggested Thursday that poor lighting on the barge, not drunkenness, was responsible. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Lindsey Stewart's mother Carol Stewart-Kosik, second from right, and stepfather Walter Kosik, third from right, stand with other mourners as a casket containing Lindsey Stewart's body is brought into the Good Shepard Lutheran Church in Pearl River, N.Y., Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013. The service for Lindsey Stewart of Piermont is being held at the church in Pearl River where she would have been married Aug. 10. Stewart died Friday night when the powerboat she was in crashed into a barge on the Hudson River. Her fiance was injured and his best man, Mark Lennon, was killed. The pilot of the boat, Jojo John, was charged with vehicular manslaughter and police said they suspect he was intoxicated. Stewart's and Lennon's parents suggested Thursday that poor lighting on the barge, not drunkenness, was responsible. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
A casket containing Lindsey Stewart's body is brought inside the Good Shepard Lutheran Church in Pearl River, N.Y., Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013. The service for Lindsey Stewart of Piermont is being held at the church in Pearl River where she would have been married Aug. 10. Stewart died Friday night when the powerboat she was in crashed into a barge on the Hudson River. Her fiance was injured and his best man, Mark Lennon, was killed. The pilot of the boat, Jojo John, was charged with vehicular manslaughter and police said they suspect he was intoxicated. Stewart's and Lennon's parents suggested Thursday that poor lighting on the barge, not drunkenness, was responsible. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Sheryl Palacio of Valley Cottage, N.Y., cradles her son Andres in Piermont, N.Y., on Sunday, July 28, 2013, as she talks about her friends Brian Bond and Jojo John, both injured in a Hudson River boating accident that killed Bond's bride-to-be and best man. John is charged with manslaughter in the case. (AP Photo/Jim Fitzgerald)
FILE - This Sunday, July 28, 2013, file photo provided by the Rockland County Sheriff's Office shows Jojo John, 35, of Nyack, N.Y., who is accused of crashing a powerboat into a barge on the Hudson River, killing a bride-to-be and her fiance's best man. At John's arraignment Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2013, Rockland County Assistant District Attorney Stephen Moore said that John told rescuers he'd been "drinking all day," on the day of the accident. John pleaded not guilty to all 18 counts against him. (AP Photo/Rockland County Sheriff's Office, File)
In this still frame made from WABC-TV video, Carol Stewart, center, mother of missing woman Lindsey Stewart, speaks to an official about the ongoing search for her daughter following a boating accident on the Hudson River near Piermont, N.Y. on Saturday, July 27, 2013. The Coast Guard says the recreational boat struck a barge near the Tappan Zee Bridge on Friday night, sending two people into the water who haven't been found and injuring four others. (AP Photo/WABC-TV)
In this still frame made from WABC-TV video, Carol Stewart, center, mother of missing woman Lindsey Stewart, speaks to an official about the ongoing search for her daughter following a boating accident on the Hudson River near Piermont, N.Y. on Saturday, July 27, 2013. The Coast Guard says the recreational boat struck a barge near the Tappan Zee Bridge on Friday night, sending two people into the water who haven't been found and injuring four others. (AP Photo/WABC-TV)
This undated family photo provided by the Rockland County Sheriff's Office on Sunday, July 28, 2013 shows Mark Lennon. Authorities continued to search for Lennon after he fell into the Hudson River Friday night when the motorboat he was on as a passenger crashed into a barge near the Tappan Zee Bridge. (AP Photo/Rockland County Sheriff's Office)
Members of the fire and rescue squad in Piermont, N.Y., launch a boat on Sunday, July 28, 2013, to help search for Mark Lennon, 30, who was missing after a boating accident in the Hudson River. A body believed to be Lennon's was found later. (AP Photo/Jim Fitzgerald)
Members of the fire and rescue squad in Piermont, N.Y., begin searching on Sunday, July 28, 2013, for Mark Lennon, 30, who was missing after a boating accident in the Hudson River on Friday night. A body believed to be Lennon's was found later Sunday. (AP Photo/Jim Fitzgerald)
Rescue workers on a boat search the Hudson River south of the Tappan Zee Bridge for two people who went missing following a boat crash in Piermont, N.Y. on Saturday, July 27, 2013. Two people are missing and four others are injured after their boat struck a barge under the bridge, according to the Coast Guard. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Rescue workers on boats search near a construction barge, left, on the Hudson River in Piermont, N.Y. on Saturday, July 27, 2013, south of the Tappan Zee Bridge after two people fell into the water during a boat crash. Two are missing and four others injured after their boat struck the barge according to the Coast Guard. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Rescue workers on boats search near a construction barge on the Hudson River in Piermont, N.Y. on Saturday, July 27, 2013, south of the Tappan Zee Bridge for two people who are believed to have fallen into the water during a boat crash. Two people are missing and four others are injured after their boat struck the barge, center, according to the Coast Guard. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Rescue workers on a boat search the Hudson River south of the Tappan Zee Bridge for two people who are believed to have fallen into the water during a boat crash in Piermont, N.Y. on Saturday, July 27, 2013. Two people are missing and four others are injured after their boat struck a barge under the bridge, according to the Coast Guard. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Rescue workers on a boat search the Hudson River south of the Tappan Zee Bridge for two people who are believed to have fallen into the water during a boat crash in Piermont, N.Y. on Saturday, July 27, 2013. Two people are missing and four others are injured after their boat struck a barge under the bridge, according to the Coast Guard. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
This still frame made from WABC-TV video on Saturday, July 27, 2013, shows a boat recovered from the Hudson River following a boating accident near Piermont, N.Y. The Coast Guard says a recreational boat struck a barge near the Tappan Zee Bridge on Friday night, sending two people into the water who haven't been found and injuring four others. (AP Photo/WABC-TV)
In this still frame made from WABC-TV video on Saturday, July 27, 2013, officials search for missing people following a boating accident on the Hudson River near Piermont, N.Y. The Coast Guard says a recreational boat struck a barge near the Tappan Zee Bridge on Friday night, sending two people into the water who haven't been found and injuring four others. (AP Photo/WABC-TV)
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By JIM FITZGERALD

NEW CITY, N.Y. (AP) - The criminal case stemming from a boat ride on the Hudson River that took the lives of a bride-to-be and her fiancé's best man is ending. But the case may persist in civil courtrooms for years.

Jojo John, who was piloting the powerboat that crashed into a barge in July 2013, is expected to be sent to jail Tuesday for two years.

He pleaded guilty in June to vehicular manslaughter and admitted that he was drunk at the time.

John's 19-foot Stingray crashed into a barge that was moored in the Hudson as part of the construction of a new Tappan Zee Bridge, about 30 miles north of Manhattan.

Two 30-year-old friends of John, Lindsey Stewart of Piermont and Mark Lennon of Pearl River, were killed. Stewart was to have been married two weeks later. The groom-to-be, Brian Bond, was injured, as was John.

Prosecutors said the 36-year-old John had nearly twice the legal level of alcohol in his system when the boat crashed. They quoted him as telling first responders, "I've been drinking all day," or words to that effect.

John's lawyer, David Narain, insisted that the crash was caused not by intoxication but by a lack of lighting on the barge. The Coast Guard and the state Thruway Authority, which is building the bridge, said the barge was properly lighted.

Stewart's and Lennon's families have sued several companies involved in the construction, citing poor lighting. But they also sued John, as co-owner of the boat, and said he was careless and negligent. Others who were in the boat also have sued.

John's civil lawyer, James Mercante, said Monday that the end of the criminal case means civil lawyers will get access to the boat and other evidence. A conference in the lawsuits, which have been consolidated in admiralty court, is scheduled for Oct. 27.

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