It’s Dangerous After Dark - 08/06/2008

Authorities on Sunday were searching marinas and lagoons along the New Jersey shore, trying to find a boat involved in a fatal hit-and-run on the Metedeconk River. The accident took place at about 1:15 a.m. Sunday in Brick Township, near Herring Island, when a 17-foot Boston Whaler was struck by another boat that then sped away, said State Police. The collision killed Robert Post, 49, of Essex Fells and injured four others in his boat, one of whom called 911 from the boat for help. It was a moonless night and no one got a description of the offending boat.

"I heard a couple girls screaming, so I didn't get up 'cause it was dark," said Karen Murchison who lives in a house along the river where the accident occurred. "Then I heard a speed boat pulling out, going really fast."

"I saw one person who walked off the boat and everybody else was taken off by stretcher from there," said neighbor Dr. Eric Lehnes. "I think it's horrible how anybody could do that and take off," added another neighbor named Jeane Bechtold.

People living on the Metedeconk River say speeding is problem. "We need barrels and people need to be aware that they need to slow down," said Susan Scherler.

Dangerous at night
Imagine the speed of the boat that caused this damage.

Police Search for the Perp

All day Sunday, Brick Township police asked the public for help. Sgt. Julian Castellanos, of the NJ State Police said, "We appeal to that person to please come forward."

An extensive search of marinas and docks along the Metedeconk River in New Jersey was carried out all day Sunday but no boat was found.

Driver Comes Forward

Then, on Monday morning State Police announced that the owner and operator of the boat contacted them through his lawyer. The man, whose name has not been released, allegedly told investigators he knows he struck something but “didn't knew it was a group of people.”

The boat was found in a garage in Brick Township, it was reported. News sources describe the boat as a “27-foot cigarette boat.” It is typical in news reports about high-performance boats to have them described as “cigarettes”, but there is no reason to think that was actually the brand involved in this case.

The lessons from this sad story are obvious.  To find out what you can do to help prevent accidents like this once, please read the adjacent editorial.