A late night boat ride on the Hudson River proved fatal for four Ulster County residents on Sunday, when a boat crashed into a concrete abutment in the river, just before dawn near the town of Red Hook, NY. Judging by the damage, police believe the boat's operator was speeding, though it wasn't yet clear who was at the controls when it hit the concrete, which may at one time have been part of a dock. Beer bottles were found on the boat, but it's unclear what role alcohol may have played in the accident.
John Uvino, 26, of Saugerties, N.Y., was fatally thrown from the boat, while Robert Macarthur, 27, Deena Cordero, 26, and Jay Bins, 41, died as it sank. Two occupants survived and made it to shore in the darkness: Joseph Vehnick, 23, of Kingston, and Jessica Hotaling, 27, of Hyde Park, N.Y. Despite serious injuries, Vehnick walked for almost two hours in search of a phone, finally finding one in a barn and calling 911. "It was obviously an emergency situation, and he was doing whatever he could to find a phone," Lieutenant John Watterson tells the Times. "I believe he could walk, but he was in a great deal of pain."
Both Vehnick and Hotaling were hospitalized with multiple fractures and are listed in stable condition. The boat, identified as a Chris-Craft model with seats up in the bow, was just 15 feet from the river's edge when it crashed, and it's unclear if the abutment was marked off by a buoy. The tragic incident occurred a month after the June 10th drowning of Poughkeepsie resident Lester Runza, 79, who died after his vintage boat sank in the Hudson River 300 feet from shore.