Towaco man charged for the death of teen in Barnegat Bay

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TOMS RIVER, NJ – Colonel Patrick J. Callahan and Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced today that Juan A. Fernandez II, 18, of Towaco, N.J., has been charged with vehicular homicide as a result of a boating crash in Toms River that killed Corey T. Molinari, 19, of Whippany, N.J. and injured 4 others.

On Sunday, June 13, at approximately 1:13 a.m., troopers from the New Jersey State Police Marine Services Bureau responded to Antiqua Avenue for the report of a serious vessel crash in Barnegat Bay. Upon their arrival, officers from the Toms River Police Department and local first responders were on scene treating the injured. Four occupants were treated for non-life-threatening injuries, and Corey Molinari was airlifted to Jersey Shore Medical Center where he later succumbed to his injuries.

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As result of the investigation led by the Troop “C” Criminal Investigation Office, along with the NJSP Crime Scene Investigations Unit and investigators from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, detectives determined that Juan Fernandez II was operating a 2014 Bennington Pontoon boat in the Barnegat Bay when he struck Intracoastal Waterway Marker #26 head-on.

After the crash, he was able to navigate the vessel to Antiqua Avenue where he met Toms River police and first responders. Initially, Fernandez claimed that there were a total of six occupants on the vessel, but through various investigative means, detectives later determined that there were a total of nine occupants on the vessel prior to the crash, three who were let off just prior to the collision. At the time of the crash, two occupants were ejected.

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As a result of a toxicology report on blood obtained from Fernandez on the morning of the crash and information obtained as a result of the investigation, the New Jersey State Police working in cooperation with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office charged Juan A. Fernandez II with Vehicular Homicide (2nd Degree), Strict Liability Vehicular Homicide (3rd Degree), and Hindering (Third Degree).

Juan A. Fernandez II was arrested in Boonton, N.J. on Wednesday, September 8. He was taken to NJSP Tuckerton Station where he was processed and then later lodged at the Ocean County Jail pending a bail detention hearing.