Crime and Courts

New Jersey Man Operating Boat While Drunk Pleads Guilty in Friend's Pontoon Death

A man who was drunk while operating a pontoon boat on a northern New Jersey waterway has pleaded guilty in the death of his friend who went overboard and drowned last summer.

Nicholas Zarantonello, 25, of Lake Hoptacong, faces a five-year state prison term when he’s sentenced in September. He pleaded guilty Tuesday to strict liability death by vessel and operating a vessel under the influence.

Zarantonello was operating the boat on Lake Hopatcong with two passengers on board. As they were headed back in, Zarantonello slowed the boat while entering a no-wake zone, which caused the boat to jerk, and one passenger went overboard.

Jason Gil, 24, of Mount Arlington, soon disappeared in the water. His body was found two days later.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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