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Best man killed in Hudson boat crash remembered

August 3, 2013 8:22:03 AM PDT
Friends and relatives say a 30-year-old man killed in a speedboat crash on the Hudson River will be remembered for his bright-smile and love of small adventures.

Mark Lennon was supposed to be the best man at Brian Bond's wedding next week.

Instead, Bond attended Lennon's funeral Friday at a Roman Catholic church in Piermont, N.Y.

Lennon and Bond's fiancee, Lindsey Stewart, were killed July 26 when a speedboat slammed into a barge beneath the Tappan Zee Bridge. Four others, including Bond, were injured.

The boat's operator faces a charge of vehicular manslaughter.

Lennon's brother told mourners at the funeral that his "smile is shining down on us."

Ray Lennon said his brother enjoyed every moment and found a way to add adventure to every day.

The parents of Mark Lennon tightly held each other as their son's remains slowly passed them under mournful strains of a bagpipe.

Lining each side of the walk into the church of Saint John, an honor guard ? fellow club members had athletic jerseys carefully draped over their arms. They were who Mark Lennon played football with since he was a child.

Having said goodbye to his bride-to-be just the day before, Brian Bond was now having to say goodbye to his friend who was to be his best man.

Lennon was remembered at the young age of 30 as a man who loved life. Others say he was a loyal friend.

"It is sad, very sad for Pearl River," said neighbor and family friend Richard Galvin.

"He was full of life and enjoyed life to the fullest, and a shame he was lost so fast," Galvin added.

The pilot of the boat, Jojo John, was charged with vehicular manslaughter and police said they suspect he was intoxicated. But in a written statement, Stewart's and Lennon's parents suggested that poor lighting on the barge, not drunkenness, was responsible.

The Coast Guard has said the barge was properly lighted.

In the statement, the parents say they are "shattered by the horrible accident".

Stewart and Lennon were passengers on the speedboat that crashed into a barge holding equipment for the construction of a replacement for the Tappan Zee. Four others, including Bond, suffered injuries.

"Compounding our agony is the rush, by some, to cast blame on or even malign the victims. While police have issued serious charges against the boat's driver, toxicology results supporting those charges will not be available for days," the parents wrote. " We will never understand why this happened, but we do seek to understand exactly what happened that horrible night."

The statement says that no one on the boat saw the barge.

"They did not brace for impact and could not identify what they had hit - even after impact - as they desperately worked to direct the first responders coming to their aid," the statement reads.

They are also asking anyone who might have seen anything on or before the night of the accident (Friday, July 26) to darkbarges@gmail.com. (Full statement can be read at the bottom of this article)

John was charged with vehicular homicide in Stewart's death. He hasn't been charged in connection with Lennon's death. His lawyer called the crash "a tragedy for all of us."

The Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe says they are also investigating the barge's lighting. He says cellphone video shot by one of the survivors of a speedboat crash shows the last few seconds before the vessel crashed into the barge.

He said Wednesday it's difficult to tell if the video shows the actual impact. He says the cellphone also briefly recorded audio of the crash and its impact.

The district attorney says investigators are carefully reviewing the recording for clues to the cause. Police say they suspect the man piloting the boat was intoxicated, but blood tests are not yet complete. John has been charged with vehicular homicide.

Zugibe said all information would be submitted to a grand jury.

Statement from the families of Lindsey Stewart and Mark Lennon

Our families are shattered by the horrible accident that took the lives of Lindsey Stewart and Mark Lennon and seriously injured and devastated so many others.

Compounding our agony is the rush, by some, to cast blame on or even malign the victims. While police have issued serious charges against the boat's driver, toxicology results supporting those charges will not be available for days.

Our conversations with some of the survivors of this accident, including Brian Bond, make two things quite clear:

  • The passengers on the boat - all mature, respected professionals in their thirties - had consumed very little alcohol and considered themselves sober.

  • None of them saw the barge. They did not brace for impact and could not identify what they had hit - even after impact - as they desperately worked to direct the first responders coming to their aid.

    We are immensely thankful for the outpouring of love and concern by so many friends, neighbors and even strangers.

    So many caring people have asked, "What can I do?"

    We will never understand why this happened, but we do seek to understand exactly what happened that horrible night.

    To do that, we have a specific request of boaters who have firsthand knowledge of the barges our loved ones struck:

    If you were out on the water, on or before the night of Friday, July 26, and have knowledge of the barges or the accident conditions, please share your information with us by sending an email to darkbarges@gmail.com . (That's darkbarges with an "s.")

    We remain so grateful to the Rockland County Sheriff's department and all the first responders who searched for and recovered Lindsey and Mark, as well as the medical personnel who came to the aid of their injured friends.

    We are devastated by the irreparable damage that has been done to the lives of so many. None of our lives will ever be the same.

    Thank you for keeping our families - and the families of all those affected by this accident ? in your prayers.

    Carol Stewart-Kosik, mother of Lindsey Stewart
    Walter Kosik, step-father of Lindsey Stewart
    Kevin and Dympna Lennon, parents of Mark Lennon

    ---
    Some information from The Associated Press


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