A 19-year-old man has been indicted on charges of death by vessel, vehicular homicide, and assault by vessel over a boat crash in Toms River that resulted in a man being killed.
On June 13, 2021, at approximately 1:13 a.m., the Toms River Township Police Department and the New Jersey State Police were notified of a boat crash that occurred in the Barnegat Bay. Officers responded to Antiqua Avenue and found that Corey Molinari had been ejected from a pontoon boat and suffered serious bodily injury including severe head trauma.
At least six other occupants of the boat were identified and treated on scene for various injuries. Molinari was treated on scene and subsequently airlifted to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune where he subsequently died from his injuries.
An investigation by the New Jersey State Police Troop “C” Criminal Investigation Office, New Jersey State Police Crime Scene Investigation Unit and Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit determined that Juan Fernandez II, was the operator of the pontoon boat when the boat struck a cement channel marker. Further investigation revealed that Fernandez had been consuming alcohol while operating the pontoon boat.
Fernandez was transported to Community Medical Center in Toms River where he consented to a draw of his blood at approximately 9:32 a.m. Fernandez, II, blood alcohol content (BAC) was determined to be .037%. The State retained the services of Robert J. Pandina, Ph.D, a forensic psycho-pharmacologist, who analyzed the toxicology findings of Fernandez, II’s BAC. Dr. Pandina concluded through extrapolation analysis that Fernandez II’s BAC at the time of the collision was between .13% and .15%. In the State of New Jersey, an operator of a motor vehicle or vessel is presumed to be over the legal limit for purposes of alcohol consumption where his/her BAC is .08 or greater.
On September 9, 2021, Fernandez II was arrested at his residence without incident. He was transported to New Jersey State Police Tuckerton Station to be processed. He was then transported to the Ocean County Jail, and later released as a consequence of New Jersey Bail Reform.
During the course of this investigation, Fernandez II’s father, Juan A. Fernandez, Sr., 59, of Towaco, was questioned by law enforcement in connection with this investigation. It was determined that Juan A. Fernandez, Sr., provided false information to Detectives during the course of the investigation; as a consequence, Juan A. Fernandez, Sr., has been indicted for Hindering Apprehension or Prosecution in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-3a(7).