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Human Interest

Pitcher José Fernández Was Driving Boat During Crash That Killed 3, Investigators Say

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José Fernández

Miami Marlins star pitcher José Fernández was driving the speeding boat that crashed into a jetty last September off the coast of Miami Beach, killing the 24-year-old and his two friends, investigators announced Thursday.

The 46-page report by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission determined that the vessel —which slammed into the north jetty at Government Cut off Miami Beach — was traveling at more than 65 mph and that Fernández was over the legal limit for alcohol and had cocaine in his system.

According to the report, investigators determined Fernández was operating the boat by testing DNA found on the boat’s steering wheel and throttle, as well finger prints from the steering wheel.

“Fernández operated the [vessel] with his normal faculties impaired, in a reckless manner, in the darkness of night, in an area with known navigational hazards such as the rock jetties and channel markers,” part of it read. “Fernandez’s impairment and manner of operation caused the accident which resulted in his death and the death of his occupants, Eduardo Rivero and Emilio Macias.”

Conservation Commission investigators concluded that if Fernández had survived he could have faced charges of manslaughter, boating while intoxicated, vessel homicide and reckless or careless operation.

On Wednesday, just one day before the report was released, Fernández’s girlfriend and mother were granted control of his estate by a Miami-Dade County judge, Local 10 News reports.

His girlfriend, Maria Arias, is also the mother of his daughter, Penelope, who was born after his death on Feb. 24.

Michele Eve/Splash News

His estate is believed to be worth between $2 million and $3 million, the outlet reports.

“The fact that Jose would have been making $300 million over a 10-year contract that was imminent — that’s correct,” Fernández’s family attorney, Ralf Fernandez, told the news outlet. “But that’s not what he had. You know, that’s not what Maria’s baby will have. … What they do have is the rich memories, you know, of an individual who changed the city and this state.”

In February, the families of two other victims — Jesus Macias and Eduardo Rivero —filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Fernández’s estate in February.

“We want to emphasize that this accident was a tragedy for all concerned,” read a statement to the Sun-Sentinel from Christopher Royer, an attorney with the law firm of Krupnick Campbell, which represents the survivors of Macias and Rivero. “Though fault has been determined officially, the families of Emilio and Eduardo are not vindictive and simply hope that an amicable settlement of the lawsuit can be reached between the parties as swiftly as possible so as not to prolong the final closure for the many people who have been impacted.”

“The Rivero and Macias families have also lost their sons in the prime of their lives. Whatever happens, there are no winners in this matter, simply losses – those of the lives of three fine young men.”