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Boat crash victims' families plan lighthouse memorial

The double-fatal nighttime boat collision with a barge on New York’s Hudson River on July 26 has friends and family of the victims rallying to improve safety on the river.

They are launching a memorial fund this week to raise money for a new, fully functioning lighthouse that would be built at the same marina where Mark Lennon and Lindsey Stewart and four survivors embarked on a late-night powerboat ride that ended with a crash into a construction barge for the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project.

"Nobody saw that barge," Stewart's mother, Carol Stewart-Kosik, told The Journal News Tuesday. "If this could cast a light or shadow on the river, maybe it will not just memorialize them but save other lives, so that they didn't die in vain in the dark."

A website to promote the fundraising effort, named the Lindsey Stewart and Mark Lennon Memorial Fund, is being developed.

The families of both victims have hired lawyers and are considering litigation to determine what went wrong and possibly hold people responsible for the deaths.

Police have charged the boat's driver, Jojo John, 35, with vehicular manslaughter and accused him of drunken boating.

The Stewart and Lennon families released a statement last week saying that, because of poor lighting, no one on the boat could see the barge as they approached it. They also said there has been a rush to blame the skipper, even though official blood tests have yet to be completed.

"There were five other people on that boat that didn't see the barge," Raymond Lennon told the newspaper. "That's enough indication of how this accident came about."

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