Boater Pleads Guilty After Deadly Crash Near Liberty Island
MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — More than three years after being accused of drunkenly crashing his 30-foot boat into a Bayliner half it’s size and killing one of its passengers, Richard Aquilone pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of second degree vehicular manslaughter and vehicular assault, as well as negligent homicide.
The guily plea comes in exchange for a sentence agreement that includes no jail time for the 43-year-old investment firm manager. Aquilone is slated to be given 5 years of probation and 250 hours of community service when he's officially sentenced on Nov. 12.
He will also have to complete a boating safety course and will permanently lose his boating license.
Prosecutors said Aquilone copped to accidentally killing Jijo Puthuvamkunnath on July 2, 2010 when driving his ProLine vessel, called Reel Impulsive, through New York Harbor. He was accused of being under the influence of alcohol — with his three young children on board.
He crashed on a clear day, in calm waters, after failing to see another boat in his path.
Prosecutors said Aquilone had a blood-alcohol level of .08 while operating the boat.
Puthuvamkunnath, 30, was with friends on a boat anchored by Liberty Island when the collision happened.
The physical therapist had been due to get married just three weeks later.
In court Tuesday, prosecutors said they agreed to the plea deal after numerous consulations with the Puthuvamkunnath family.
Aquilone had faced up to seven years in jail for the top vehicular manslaughter charge.