Boater Charged After Swimmer Killed by Propeller in Long Island Bay: Police

A Long Island boater has been arrested after his vessel's propellers killed a passenger who jumped overboard for a quick swim in a bay Sunday evening, police say.

Raymond Balboa, 53, was charged with second-degree vehicular manslaughter, operating a vessel while intoxicated and operating an unregistered vessel after the boating accident that killed 34-year-old Cesar Hernandez-Rodas in Baldwin Bay, police say.

Hernandez-Rojas was one of about a dozen people who went for a swim in the bay while riding in Balboa’s boat. The boat trip was an outing for employees of Balboa's wife, court documents say.

After the group swam for a bit, Balboa asked everyone to get back in the boat and allegedly started its engine. The 34-year-old victim’s legs were hit by the propellers several times, police say.

Hernandez-Rojas was pulled into the boat and taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police say Balboa appeared to be drunk and was arrested at the scene. Court documents say Balboa told police, "I didn't drink, dude."

Balboa pleaded not guilty to vehicular manslaughter and DWI charges in court Monday.

His attorney, Michael DerGarabedian, says Balboa went through the requisite safety checks and accounted for everyone on the boat before turning on the engine. DerGarabedian says Hernandez-Rojas jumped off the boat as it started moving and was caught in the propeller.

He says Balboa has taken two safe boating courses in the last eight years, and that he's been boating since he was 10 years old.  

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