Man Charged for 2019 Lake Hopatcong Boating Death

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HOPATCONG, NJ – Acting Morris County Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll, Acting Chief of Investigations Christoph Kimker, and New Jersey State Police Superintendent Colonel Patrick Callahan announce the sentencing of Nicholas Zarantonello, 25 years old, of Lake Hopatcong, NJ. The sentence stems from a fatal boating incident that occurred on August 3, 2019.
Zarantonello was sentenced on Friday, October 23, 2020, by the Hon. Stephen J. Taylor, P.J.Cr. to three years probation conditioned upon 364 days imprisonment in the Morris County Correctional Facility and completion of 200 hours of community service. The defendant must also forfeit his right to operate a boat for one year and to operate a motor vehicle for three months.
Zarantonello had previously entered a guilty plea on July 20, 2020 to one count of third degree Strict Liability Vehicular Homicide before Judge Taylor. He also entered a guilty plea to the boating regulation violation of Operating a Vessel Under the Influence.
The charges arise from a single-vessel boating incident that occurred on Lake Hopatcong in Jefferson Township on August 3, 2019. The investigation revealed that Zarantonello was the driver of a pontoon boat on Lake Hopatcong with two passengers. While traveling on Lake Hopatcong, one of the passengers went overboard and did not resurface. His body was located in the water in Lake Hopatcong on August 5, 2019. Further investigation revealed that Zarantonello had consumed alcohol prior to operating the pontoon boat and was intoxicated at the time of the incident.
Acting Prosecutor Carroll acknowledges members of the New Jersey State Police, New Jersey State Police Marine Services Bureau, and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit, who contributed to the successful prosecution of this matter.

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