Marlins ace Jos Fernndez was piloting boat during fatal crash, report finds

Pitcher found responsible for crash that killed him and two others off the coast of Miami Beach last September

The Miami Marlins pitcher Jos Fernndez was piloting a boat that crashed in September, killing him and two friends, a report has found.

The Florida fish and wildlife conservation commission on Thursday released an investigation into the fatal crash, and found that the speedboat dubbed the Kaught Looking had reached 65.7mph when it hit a jetty off the coast of Miami Beach.

Jos Fernndez was the operator at the time of allision, the report concludes. That refutes the long-held assertion of Fernndezs lawyer that Fernndez was not behind the wheel at the time of the accident.

According to the 46-page report, Fernndez operated [the boat] with his normal faculties impaired, in a reckless manner, at an extremely high rate, in the darkness of night, in an area with known navigational hazards such as rock jetties and channel markers.

Physical evidence collected during the investigation, including the pitchers fingerprints and DNA on the steering wheel, and the projection of his body as he was thrown from the boat, placed Fernndez at the helm.

Fernndezs blood alcohol content was .147, and he had trace amounts of cocaine in his system. Had he survived, he could have been prosecuted for boating-under-the-influence manslaughter and vessel homicide, the report said.

A toxicology reported determined alcohol and drugs were a factor in this case, the report said.

Fernndez, 24, Jesus Macias, 27, and Eduardo Rivero, 25, died from a combination of blunt force injuries sustained in the crash and drowning. Officials were not able to identify Fernndez by his drivers license alone because of the damage to his face.

Fernndez was found submerged under the vessel, pinned between the T-top and a boulder. Macias was found near the bow of the boat, submerged in a tidal pool adjacent the jettys surface. Eduardo Rivero was found underwater on the north side of the jetty, west of stern, his head and chest under a boulder.

The crash occurred at 3.02am, the report said. Fernndez, Macias and Rivero were pronounced dead at the scene at 4.04am.

The death of Fernndez, a two-time All-Star, rocked the Marlins and Major League Baseball. The Marlins and Mets took part in a tearful tribute at Marlins Park the day after he was killed: Dee Gordon hit a home run in the games first at-bat and was consoled by emotional team-mates as he came into home plate.

Days before his death, Fernndez publicly announced that he and his girlfriend, Maria Arias, were expecting a child. The baby, Penelope, was born on 24 February.

The families of Macias and Rivero have filed lawsuits against Fernandezs estate, each seeking $2m.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/16/marlins-jose-fernandez-piloting-boat-crash