A 24-year-old man who reportedly fell off a pontoon boat in Lake Hopatcong was found drowned in the lake on Aug. 5, and the man driving the boat is under arrest. New Jersey authorities have charged the 24-year-old boat driver with DUI in connection with the death, which reportedly occurred the night of Aug. 3. He is currently not in police custody, and no court date has yet been reported.
According to the information provided in the report, the 24-year-old fell off the boat around 7:40 p.m. It is unclear what action the boat driver took, but authorities were alerted and a search was initiated sometime later. Unfortunately, the search had to be called off for the night due to lightning strikes in the area and poor visibility. The search resumed the following morning with rescue boats, helicopters and TEAMS units from the New Jersey State Police.
The man's body was recovered the following morning around 6:30 a.m. The medical examiner in Morris County declared the man dead and an autopsy was pending to confirm his cause of death. The official NJSP investigation is still underway as of this report.
The loss of life in this accident is tragic, and if intoxication on the part of the boat driver was part of the cause of death, this will certainly be addressed in criminal court. However, New Jersey authorities will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the boat operator was DUI at the time of the accident. His criminal defense representation will carefully review any evidence prosecutors intend to offer in court to support their claim.