A New York woman is dead after the driver of a 39-foot speedboat she was riding crashed.
On Sunday evening, 27-year-old Kelley Blanchard was out boating with two friends and her sister off of Long Island. Shortly before 9 p.m., Blanchard’s boat slammed into the wooden bulkhead in Great Peconic Bay, NBC News and the Rutherford Daily Voice report.
When police responded to the scene, the boat was found approximately 150 feet from the shoreline. All four people on board were injured and taken to area hospitals.
When Blanchard arrived at Peconic Bay Medical Center, she was pronounced dead.
Frank Distefano, 48, of East Northport has been identified as the driver and owner of the boat. He has been charged with boating while intoxicated. Additional charges are anticipated to be filed, but the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Blanchard’s sister Megan, 29, and friend, Nick Soullas, 41, survived the crash and were in serious condition as of Monday.
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Southold Town Police say Distefano was driving at a “significant speed,” NBC reports.
“You have the channel markers, you’re supposed to slow down to five miles an hour and cruise in, and it’s a narrow channel,” Mattituck resident, Jim McCartney, told ABC7.
Both Blanchard and her sister worked for Distefano at Michelangelo Pizzeria in Mattituck for several years, the station reports.
Following news of the accident, friends posted tributes to Blanchard.
“Kelley lit up any room she was in,” one friend wrote. “She was the life of the party with the best laugh and loudest burp I’ve ever heard in my entire life. I’m laughing as I’m crying. Kelley you were such a fun and beautiful person, you will be missed.”
Distefano has been released and will be arraigned later this month. Attorney information was not available Tuesday.
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