A boating while intoxicated (BWI) charge was dropped against a boat operator involved in a fatal boat accident that killed a woman and injured other passengers.
Francesco Distefano, 48, had been operating a 39-foot Cobalt boat when the nighttime crash occurred off Long Island in November 2019. The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office said the BWI charge against him was dropped after a toxicology report showed that his blood alcohol content (BAC) was below the legal limit for a criminal charge.
Distefano and Nick Soullas, 41, were injured. Megan Blanchard, 29, suffered serious injuries that required surgery. Her sister, Kelley Blanchard, 27, died in the Long Island boat accident.
The boat hit a bulkhead near the James Creek entrance in Mattituck. According to Southold Town Police, the vessel sustained damage to the front end, which indicated that it was moving at a “significant speed” when the crash occurred. Authorities were continuing to conduct a criminal investigation.
Under New York laws, it is illegal to operate a boat with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. BWI penalties can include fines and jail time. If you have been accused of BWI on Long Island, call Brill Legal Group right away. Our defense attorneys know exactly how to handle such cases and will make sure that your rights are protected.