According to multiple sources, including usatoday.com, investigators have determined Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez was likely piloting the boat as it hit a jetty off the coast of Miami Beach last September, a crash that resulted in the deaths of Fernandez and two friends.
Hernandez was killed Sept. 25 in the boat accident off a jetty in south Florida. The 24-year-old pitcher had a 16-8 record and 2.84 ERA at the time of his death. He had struck out 253 batters and was part of the conversation for the National League’s Cy Yong Award.
“Fernandez operated (the boat) with his normal faculties impaired, in a reckless manner, at an extremely high rate, in the darkness of night, in an area with known navigational hazards such as rock jetties and channel markers,” Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigators wrote in the report obtained by USA TODAY Sports and other outlets.
At the time of the crash, it was reported there wasn’t alcohol present at the scene. It was later discovered there was a distinct smell of alcohol at the crash site and cocaine was found in Fernandez’s system.
Fernandez, Jesus Macias, 27, and Eduardo Rivero, 25, died from a combination of blunt force injuries sustained in the crash and drowning. The families of Macias and Rivero have filed lawsuits against Fernandez’s estate.
“There was no evidence found to indicate either Macias or Rivero were possible operators of (the vessel),” investigators concluded.
The report listed the boat’s speed at 65.7 mph at the time of the crash, and stated that Fernandez could have been charged with boating under the influence manslaughter, vessel homicide and reckless or careless operation of a vessel – if he had survived.
Fernandez was selected by the Marlins in the first round of the 2011 MLB draft. Fernández made his MLB debut with the Marlins on April 7, 2013. He was named to the 2013 MLB All-Star Game and won the National League (NL) Rookie of the Month Award in July and August. After the season, he won the NL Rookie of the Year Award and finished third in Cy Young Award balloting. He underwent "Tommy John" surgery during the 2014 season, and made the MLB All-Star Game again in 2016.