Body found in river where best man vanished

PIERMONT, N.Y. — Authorities say a second body has been pulled from New York’s Hudson River near where a bride-to-be and her fiance’s best man went missing after a boat crash near the Tappan Zee Bridge.

Officials say the body of a man believed to be 30-year-old Mark Lennon was discovered Sunday. A body believed to be that of bride-to-be Lindsey Stewart was found Saturday.

Both bodies have been taken to the medical examiner’s office.

Stewart was set to be married Aug. 10. Lennon was the best man.

Officials say four people, including the groom-to-be, were hospitalized after a speedboat carrying six friends crashed into a construction barge Friday night.

A friend operating the boat, Jojo John, has been charged with vehicular manslaughter. Authorities say he was intoxicated.

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PIERMONT, N.Y. — Search boats plied the Hudson River on Sunday for any sign of the planned best man in a wedding who fell into the water after a speedboat carrying members of a bridal party crashed near the Tappan Zee Bridge.

As many as dozen vessels were set to scour the water for 30-year-old Mark Lennon, who is presumed dead, authorities said. A woman’s body found Saturday matches the description of bride-to-be Lindsey Stewart, who was thrown into the river with Lennon after their boat crashed into a construction barge Friday night.

Four other friends, including Stewart’s fiance, Brian Bond, and the boat operator, Jojo John, were hurt and hospitalized.

John, 35, of Nyack, was charged Saturday with vehicular manslaughter and three counts of vehicular assault from a hospital bed, where he was recovering from his injuries in the crash, said William Barbera, chief of the Rockland County Sheriff’s Office. Authorities say they suspect John was intoxicated at the time of the crash, but they are awaiting results of blood tests.

Attempts to reach John’s family weren’t immediately successful and it wasn’t clear if he had an attorney.

Sheryl Palacio, a high school biology teacher from Valley Cottage, went to the pier Sunday with her two young sons and father and said she knows Bond, an art teacher, and John.

“I’ve known Brian my whole life,” she said. “He’s an outstanding teacher, a wonderful, kind, respectful man. Now his best friend is missing and his other best friend is charged with manslaughter.”

Palacio said John worked as a banker at a local Chase branch and opened accounts for her two boys.

“I just want to make sure everyone knows he was a good man, happy and loving,” she said. “He was always telling me about his nieces and nephews.”

Palacio’s father, Mitchell Turk, of Orangeburg, said he visited with Bond’s mother, Jean, at her home in Pearl River on Sunday.

“It’s sad and quiet there, long faces. They’re trying to carry on, doing as well as can be expected,” Turk said.

The group left the village of Piermont for a short trip aboard the 21-foot Stingray across the river to Tarrytown, about 30 miles north of New York City, authorities said.

The boat struck a barge carrying materials for the construction of a replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge, authorities said. Barbera said the barge was equipped with lights, but it was still difficult to see on the water late at night.

Stewart, of Piermont, worked for an insurance company. She and Bond were to be married at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Pearl River, with a reception at a vineyard in Hillburn, her stepfather, Walter Kosik, said.

The couple had known each other for years and used to go to church together, he said.

“They have been friends the whole time, and they fell in love about 3 ½ years ago,” Kosik said.

The New York State Thruway Authority, which is overseeing the bridge project, said it was reviewing safety procedures. It said the lighting on the barges appeared to be functioning normally.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families during this difficult time,” the authority said in a statement.

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