Have You Been Injured? We're Ready to Fight for You.

Boater Sentenced In Accident That Killed Bride-To-Be

Published on Sep 24, 2014 at 8:15 am in Wrongful Death.

The operator of a boat involved in a tragic accident last summer has plead guilty to two counts of second-degree vehicular manslaughter; a tragic reminder that driving a boat drunk can be just as dangerous as driving a car.

The accident happened on the Hudson River last July, about 25 miles north of Manhattan. The group of friends included a couple about to be wed and their best man. The operator, also a friend, took the group out on a speedboat after the group had been drinking. They were headed to a bar-restaurant across the river.

The boat, a 19-foot Stingray, crashed into a barge around 10:30 p.m. There were three construction barges strapped together, near the Tappan Zee Bridge – and many have argued that the barge owners carry some blame for not lighting them sufficiently

The driver and four others were injured. The bride-to-be and the best man were thrown from the boat and later found dead. Authorities confirmed the woman did not have on a life jacket when she was found; only two of the six on the boat were wearing life jackets.

Prosecutors said that the driver’s blood alcohol level was 0.15, almost twice the legal limit of .08; also, “cocaine metabolites” were found in his blood. The Rockland County District Attorney released a statement saying, “The defendant’s reckless decision to drive a speedboat while under the influence of alcohol and drugs tragically caused the untimely deaths of two innocent people.

The 36 year-old driver was sentenced to two years in jail; he could be released after 16 months with time off for good behavior.

During the proceedings he apologized to the families. His lead lawyer said that he was “truly remorseful for his actions.” And, while his client took responsibility for his actions, they claimed the barge lighting was an issue.

The families of the deceased have filed suit against the barge operators who they said shared the blame. Safety has been an issue on the Hudson near the Tappan Zee Bridge. The families criticized the District Attorney’s Office and suggested the DA had protected the barge owner.

The DA focused the case on the driver’s reckless conduct. They also noted that the driver had a substance-abuse problem. Just before the crash, he had spent 18 months in rehab. He was also on probation for cocaine possession; part of his jail time is for probation violation. Agreeing to the plea deal saves him from having to be housed in the state prison.

Free Case Evaluation

At Thomas Law Offices, our personal injury attorneys recognize that our potential clients are likely going through some of the most difficult times of their lives. We don't want you to have to worry about paying out of pocket for legal advice when you're just starting to learn your legal rights and options. That's why we provide free case evaluations. We'll offer our expert advice about your potential case and walk you through how we can help you.

Call us or fill out the form below to tell us about your potential case and a personal injury lawyer will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Meet Our Founder

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

Legal & Firm News

Types of Medical Malpractice

Like most major cities, Chicago and its suburbs, such as Mokena, Skokie, Orland Park, Naperville, Arlington Heights, Calumet City, and others, are home to many doctor’s offices, urgent care facilities, and hospitals. While many medical providers at these facilities successfully treat patients’ presenting concerns, poor outcomes occur.

Read More

Illinois Nursing Home Regulations

Illinois nursing home regulations exist to keep older and vulnerable adults residing in nursing homes safe, healthy, and protected from harm. Our state government has established a comprehensive system of laws to protect care facility residents, recognizing that nursing home abuse and neglect is a very real and serious problem.   Thomas Law Offices in Chicago, […]

Read More

Tad Thomas Interviewed About Sexual Assault Cases on WAVE Listens Live!

This week, Tad Thomas of Thomas Law Offices was invited back to join John Ramsey on WAVE 3 News during his Listens Live! segment which airs weekdays in Louisville. In August, Tad was interviewed on the segment about senior care facilities and how family members of residents in facilities can help protect their loved ones. […]

Read More
Tad Thomas on The National Crime Victim Bar Association
National Civil Justice Institute - Trustee
Tad Thomas on Lawyer Minds
Tad Thomas on American Association for Justice
Southern Trial Lawyers Association
Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
Ohio Association for Justice
Kentucky Justice Association
Fellows of the Litigation Counsel of America
Martindale Hubbell Preeminent
2021 Public Justice Member
AAJ Masters of Trial Law: Champion