Drunken Boating Charges Dropped in Deadly Long Island Crash - NBC New York

Drunken Boating Charges Dropped in Deadly Long Island Crash

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    NEWSLETTERS

    1 Dead, 3 Hurt in Boat Crash Off Long Island: Police

    A 27-year-old woman has died and three others were injured after their boat crashed into a blulkhead in Mattituck late Sunday, Suffolk County police said.

    (Published Friday, Nov. 22, 2019)

    What to Know

    • A 27-year-old woman was killed and three others were seriously injured after their boat crashed off Long Island earlier this month

    • Suffolk County police say the 39-foot Cobalt boat struck a bulkhead near the entrance to James Creek in Mattituk just after 9 p.m.

    • Kelley Blanchard of Riverhead was later pronounced dead, police said; drunken boating charges against driver have been dropped

    A 48-year-old man who had been operating a boat that was involved in a crash that killed a 27-year-old woman and injured him, along with two others, earlier this month was not legally drunk, according to a new statement from the Suffolk County district attorney's office Friday. 

    The operator, Frank Distefano, had been charged with boating while intoxicated in the Nov. 10 crash, but a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office now says "the toxicology report indicated that the blood alcohol content was under the legal threshold for a criminal charge." 

    Suffolk County police say the 39-foot Cobalt boat struck a bulkhead near the entrance to James Creek in Mattituk just after 9 p.m. that night. Two of the boat passengers were transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center in an ambulance and two had to be airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital.

    Kelley Blanchard, of Riverhead, was later pronounced dead, police said.

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    (Published Monday, Nov. 11, 2019)

    Nick Soullas, 41, of Jamesport, and Megan Blanchard, 29, of New Suffolk, were the other two injured passengers. Megan Blanchard is the sister of the victim killed in the crash, and had to undergo surgery for her injuries. 

    In the statement Friday, the district attorney spokesperson said the crash remains under criminal investigation, "including a thorough, forensic analysis of all the available evidence." Anyone with information is asked to call the Suffolk County district attorney's office at 631-853-4161.

    Shortly after the crash, Southold Town Police confirmed that the boat was traveling at a "significant speed" at the time, evidenced by the damage to the front end of the boat and to the bulkhead. It wasn't clear if that would be a focal point of the revamped investigation, which is ongoing.

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