Teary-eyed man jailed for two friends' deaths in US

New City (New York), Sep 17 (IANS): A two-year jail term has been awarded to a man for crashing a powerboat into a construction barge in New York, killing his friends -- a bride-to-be and her fiancé's best man. He was drunk while driving.

Thirty-six-year-old Jojo K. John of Nyack village, New York (N.Y.), was piloting a 19-foot Stingray powerboat on the night of July 26, 2013, when it slammed into one of three construction barges strapped together near the Tappan Zee Bridge, 25 miles north of Manhattan. It hurled Lindsey Stewart and Mark Lennon into the river, leading to their deaths.

The driver pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree vehicular manslaughter.

The victims’ families termed the sentence incomplete, saying poor lighting on the barge, part of the construction for a new Tappan Zee Bridge, was the main cause of the crash on the Hudson river, CNN reported Wednesday.

Before being sentenced for a jail term, John turned to the victims’ relatives and said through tears, “If I could, I would give my own life” to bring back Stewart and Lennon.

Raymond Lennon, Mark Lennon’s brother, told the judge that he was sympathetic toward John as “He is facing a life sentence of his own”.

John’s lawyer said the crash was caused not by intoxication but by a lack of lighting, and the victims’ families have filed lawsuits against several construction companies.

The Coast Guard and the New York State Thruway Authority, however, said the barge was properly lighted.


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Title: Teary-eyed man jailed for two friends' deaths in US

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