Jose Fernandez was the probable operator of a boat that crashed into a jetty on Miami Beach September 25, killing the Miami Marlins star pitcher and two others, says a report released on Thursday by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The commission investigated the deadly crash. The report, which was 46-pages in length, included a chart with a seating plan that showed Fernandez was driving based upon the physical evidence found shortly after the accident.
That evidence included Fernandez’s DNA and fingerprints on the boat’s throttle and steering wheel and the projection of the pitcher’s body when thrown from the boat at the point of impact.
The report listed alcohol and drugs as factors in the deadly accident.
The 32-foot Sea Vee, owned by Fernandez, hit the Government Cut jetty in Miami at a rate of 65.6 mph shortly after 3 a.m. September 25, said the report.
Fernandez along with the other two occupants on the boat – Eduardo Rivero, 25 and Emilio Macias 27 – were ejected from the boat.
Investigators made the conclusion that if Fernandez had survived the deadly crash there was sufficient evidence to charge him with more than one crime, including boating under the influence manslaughter; careless or reckless operation of a vessel; and vessel homicide.
The commission’s report included an exchange of text messages the night of the accident between Rivero and Fernandez’s girlfriend Maria Arias. She sent a text to Rivero that she and Fernandez had argued and asked that he take care of the star pitcher.
The text said that Fernandez had been drinking and is state of mind was not the best.
When rescue personnel arrived at the scene of the accident Fernandez was found submerged underneath the boat pinned between a boulder and the boat’s t-top.
The body of Macias was found in a tidal pool submerged near the jetty. Rivero was submerged as well with his chest and head under a boulder. All three were pronounced dead at the accident scene.
Because of face trauma, Fernandez could not be identified through his driver’s license. Rescue personnel looked for photos of a tattoo on internet the pitcher had which had gears surrounding a baseball, as a means of identifying him. He also had an ID card from Major League Baseball in his wallet.
According to the commission’s report, Martiza Fernandez, the pitcher’s mother, was adamant that her son always was the driver of the boat. She said as well that she did not know her son to use drugs or drink heavily.