Second body found in Hudson River boat crash

6:47 PM, Jul 28, 2013   |    comments
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PIERMONT, N.Y. -- A recreational jet skiier spotted a body believed to be Mark Lennon, the man thrown from the powerboat that crashed into a barge near the Tappan Zee Bridge on the Hudson River late Friday night, authorities said Sunday afternoon.

The bride-to-be also was killed, and four people, including the groom, were seriously injured.

Rockland County Sheriff Louis Falco said the jet skiier, a civilian not involved in the search, spotted the body a mile south of the Piermont Pier at 11:12 a.m.

Rescue boats had resumed the search Sunday morning from the Tappan Zee Marina around 10:45 a.m., accompanied by searchers using personal watercraft to cover the area around the marina and the Tappan Zee Bridge.

Search activity halted before 1 p.m., and the discovery was announced soon after. Lennon, 30, was one of two people thrown from a 19-foot powerboat that crashed into a construction barge moored just south of the bridge shortly before 11 p.m. Friday.

His body was discovered a day after the body of a woman, believed to be bride-to-be Lindsey Stewart, was found. Lennon was to be best man at the Aug. 10 wedding of Stewart, 30, and Brian Bond, 35.

Boat driver charged in crash that killed bride-to-be Bond was at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, N.Y., being treated for serious injuries, officials said.

The boat operator, Jojo K. John, 35, of Nyack, N.Y., was charged Saturday with a felony count of vehicular manslaughter and three felony counts of second-degree vehicular assault. Authorities believe alcohol was a factor based on a blood sample and statements from witnesses, Rockland County Undersheriff Robert Van Cura said.

Law-enforcement officials said they would meet with the Rockland County district attorney Monday to discuss additional charges. Lennon's family expressed relief after the body's discovery.

"He's at peace," Dympna Lennon said. "He was a very joyous, happy person, and he'd want us to celebrate his life, and that's what we are going to do."

Lennon's parents and older brother spoke with reporters after returning from a meeting with authorities Sunday. Raymond Lennon said he last heard from his younger brother through a text message last week inviting him out for drinks to celebrate Raymond's birthday.

He said Mark was overjoyed to be in the wedding party of his close high-school friend, Bond. "We're happy that he is finally on his way home, starting his last adventure," said Raymond Lennon. Meanwhile Sunday, parishioners gathered at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Pearl River, N.Y., where the couple were to be wed next month.

At the church, the Rev. John Havrilla urged about 200 people in attendance to pray for the families of "two beautiful young people whose lives were filled with hope and dreams, and that has been snuffed away."

A pastor at Good Shepherd for 40 years, Havrilla said he remembered both Bond and Stewart as children. They attended Sunday school at the church, had their confirmation there, and Stewart was heavily involved in its youth programs as a child, Havrilla said.

"Lindsey was always just a gem, a sweetheart. She was an important part of our congregation," the pastor said in an interview. "And Brian was always a delightful kid, a character in many ways."

With the couple planning to wed at the church Aug. 10, Havrilla said it had been an especially happy time for Bond and Stewart, who had "looked forward to raising their own kids, their own loving children. "Her loss, and the wedding, just makes this even more of a heartache," Havrilla said.

USA Today/Gannett

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