(NEW YORK) — A bride-to-be and her fiancé’s best man are still missing after they fell overboard when their boat hit a barge in New York’s Hudson River Friday night, and officials have arrested the driver of the boat on suspicion of being intoxicated.
On Saturday afternoon, officials recovered the body of a woman from the water, though they did not confirm that it was the missing bride, 30-year-old Lindsey Stewart.
Rockland County Sheriff Robert Van Cura announced Saturday afternoon that the operator of the boat, JoJo John has been arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter. Van Cura said the sheriff’s office had probable cause to believe John was intoxicated when he was driving the boat.
The missing bride and best man were in a 21-foot Stingray powerboat along with four other people, including the groom-to-be, when they hit a barrage moored near the Tappan Zee Bridge.
“It was actually the barge that we believe was struck, is actually 3 barges that are tied together and they’re part of the Tappan Zee Bridge construction project,” said Sheriff Van Cura. “They have building materials and materials for the pilings for the new bridge on the deck of the barges.”
“It was very dark out there [Friday] night and very difficult to see the barges in the water,” Van Cura said.
Stewart and the best man, who has not yet been named, are believed to have been thrown from the boat. The other four passengers were knocked unconscious, and suffered head injuries.
Carol Stewart, the bride-to-be’s mother, says her daughter’s fiancé notified authorities.
“They hit something. He called 911,” she said. “He was unconscious, reached for his phone when he came to. There were three people on the boat with him out cold.”
The two were supposed to get married in just a few weeks. The families of the bride and groom are both from the community of Piermont, N.Y. The couple knew each other from church going back a considerable period of time and were getting married after a long friendship and courtship.
“It just can’t end like this,” Stewart said.
On Saturday morning, after a night spent attempting to locate and rescue the missing people, Sheriff Van Cura announced that the department was now considering it a recovery effort. The search was suspended again Saturday at 5 p.m. Officials have still not confirmed the identity of the woman’s body found earlier in the afternoon, and have not announced the recovery of any other bodies.
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