Fiance in Deadly Hudson Boat Crash Sues Driver, Barge Owners

Tuesday, Nov 26, 2013  |  Updated 2:07 PM EDT
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Desperate Search for Crashed Boat Caught on Tape

Jojo John in court Wednesday

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The fiance of the woman killed when their friend allegedly drunkenly crashed a powerboat into a barge on the Hudson River over the summer is suing the boat driver, who owned the vessel, as well as the owners of the construction barges that were in the river at the time of the accident, alleging poor or malfunctioning lighting on the ships contributed to the deadly crash.

Brian Bond was injured in the accident that killed his bride-to-be, Lindsey Stewart, and his best man, Mark Lennon, on July 26. Stewart and Lennon were thrown from the boat after it hit a stationary barge involved in the construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge. 

Stewart, 30, and Bond were set to be married Aug. 10.  

Jojo John, the boat driver, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment last week to all 18 counts in an indictment that accuses him of vehicular manslaughter and operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs, among other charges.

Prosecutors have said John told first responders he'd been "drinking all day" prior to the crash.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, Bond's attorney alleges John couldn't see the barges because of poor lighting, which contributed to the accident. The lawsuit alleges the owners and operators of those barges ignored warnings that indicated the lighting on them was insufficient or not working properly. 

The lawsuit claims the barges involved in the accident "were black and low to the water, thus making them even more difficult, if not impossible, to see by boaters and mariners." 

John, unable to see the barges, crashed into at least one, causing the death of his friends and physical and emotional injuries to Bond, the lawsuit claims. The lawsuit alleges no one else on the boat with John and Bond that night saw the barges either.

According to the lawsuit, the owners of the barges installed additional lighting shortly after the crash.

Bond's attorney is suing John, who owned the crashed boat, along with a co-owner and half a dozen construction companies that operate barges in the Hudson, for unspecified damages related to the physical and emotional injuries he suffered as a result of the accident.

John's attorney couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

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