Jijo Puthuvamkunnath, a 30-year-old physical therapist who worked with children in schools and hospitals, was on a 17' boat in the New York Bay with two friends when a 30' boat, the Reel Impulsive, T-boned their vessel. The Reel Impulsive, piloted by Richard Aquilone, "had just tried to maneuver across the wake of a speeding tourist boat, The Shark," according to the Bergen Record. Puthuvamkunnath suffered severe head and brain injuries and was pronounced dead at a hospital (his friends suffered minor injuries.
Aquilone, who was on his boat with his wife and three children, was charged with vehicular manslaughter, operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs and endangering the welfare of a child. According to the News, "Aquilone refused to give blood but blew a .06 on the Breathalyzer after the crash - a reading that is below the legal limit. Authorities said that's why he wasn't hit with the tougher charge of boating while intoxicated."
Puthuvamkunnath's cousin wondered, "How could this man drink and take people's lives into his hands? It's so careless." Another cousin remembered how Puthuvamkunnath proposed to his fiancee Sissy Chacko—they were going to be married next month—by having a movie marquee changed to say, "Will You Marry Me Sissy?", adding, "He was looking forward to his future with her. I'd never seen him so happy."
Aguilone's lawyer said the incident was an accident. Aguilone, who is pleading not guilty, said, "I apologize for this, really."