After a six-month investigation, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission have concluded that Marlins pitcher José Fernández was behind the wheel when his boat crashed into a jetty on September 25th of last year, killing two others along with himself. A report by the commission released on Thursday states that “Fernández operated [the boat] with his normal faculties impaired, in a reckless manner, at an extreme high rate of speed, in the darkness of the night, in an area with known navigational hazards such as rock jetties and channel markers.”
The investigation came to the conclusion that the wounds on Fernández’s body were consistent with the driver’s center console, placing him at the wheel when the boat, named Kaught Looking, crashed into a jetty near Government Cut off of South Beach. At the time of the crash, Fernández was reportedly driving the boat at 65 miles per hour, way above the speed limit and even above the boat’s listed top speed.
Combined with the previous report that he had alcohol and cocaine in his body at the time of death, these facts would have led to Fernández being charged with a litany of crimes if he had survived, including manslaughter, according to the report.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife report directly contradicts statements by Fernández’s attorney, who had claimed that he was on the phone with club promoter Yuri Perez at the time of the crash. The commission checked phone records only to find that the call the attorney, Ralph Fernandez (no relation), spoke of happened a full 12 minutes before the crash.
This latest twist in the saga also places a burden of responsibility on Jose Fernández’s estate; earlier this month, relatives announced that the late pitcher’s newborn daughter would be given the entirety of his assets. Relatives of the two other victims, Emilio Jesus Macias and Eduard Rivero, have sued the estate for negligence and wrongful death, claims that are further backed up by Thursday’s report.