(Updated: 4:40 p.m.) The operator of the boat that crashed into a bulkhead last night in Mattituck, killing one passenger and seriously injuring himself and two others, has been charged with boating while intoxicated, Southold Town Police said in a press release this morning.
Police said Francesco Distefano, 48, of East Northport, who is the owner of the boat and whom they believe to have been the operator of the boat when it crashed, remains hospitalized at Stony Brook University Hospital. Distefano, a former owner of Maximus Health and Fitness in Riverhead and a partner in Michaelangelo’s Pizzeria in Mattituck, was issued an appearance ticket and will be arraigned in Southold Justice Court later this month. More charges are anticipated and the investigation is ongoing, police said in a press release this afternoon.
Kelley Blanchard, 27, of Riverhead, died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash at about 9:15 p.m., police said.
Megan Blanchard, 29, of New Suffolk, and Nick Soullas, 41 of Jamesport were seriously injured and remain hospitalized, police said.
The 39-foot Cobalt crashed into a bulkhead fronting on Great Peconic Bay approximately 200 feet west of the entrance to James Creek, police said. The vessel was approximately 150 from the shoreline when responding officers arrived at the scene. There was substantial damage to both the bulkhead and the vessel, indicating that the collision occurred at significant speed, police said.
The incident is under investigation by the Southold Town Detective Division and the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.
Mattituck Fire Department responded and was assisted by Cutchogue Fire Department. Officers from the NYS DEC responded as did a Southold Town Bay Constable, police said.
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