The 35-year-old man who piloted the boat in the Hudson River crash that killed a bride-to-be and her groom's best man in July had a blood-alcohol level that was nearly twice the legal limit, an indictment said Thursday.
Prosecutors had said after the crash that there was probable cause Jojo John was drunk when he plowed the 21-foot Stingray into a construction barge near the Tappan Zee Bridge on July 26, but the blood tests showing a .15 blood-alcohol level had not been revealed until now. The indictment also said cocaine metabolites were found in his system, but those can linger for longer.
The grand jury indictment charges him with 18 counts, including vehicular manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.
"Drinking and driving is a lethal mix, as it appears to have been in this incident, which left several families shattered," said Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe.
The crash killed Lindsey Stewart, 30, who was set to be married Aug. 10. Her fiance's best man, 30-year-old Mark Lennon, also died.
A lawyer for John said poor lighting on the barge, not any impairment, caused the crash.
"We dispute the toxicology results and look forward to challenging those findings," said David Narain.
Families of the two people who died have said that the passengers on the boat "had consumed very little alcohol and considered themselves sober."
Stewart's and Lennon's families said in a new statement on Thursday that they were disappointed the investigation focused on John and "continue to believe that the owners and operators of the barges where this accident happened share responsibility."
The New York State Thruway Authority and the Coast Guard have said the barge lighting appeared to be functioning normally and met all regulations.