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Christie to Sign Boat 'Leaving the Scene' Bill Inspired by Brick Case on Thursday

Christie to sign the bill in Point Boro, then head to Point Beach for a boardwalk tour

Patch File Photo: Daniel Nee
Patch File Photo: Daniel Nee
Gov. Chris Christie is expected to sign a bill on Thursday that will bring the penalties for leaving the scene of serious or deadly boating accidents in line with doing the same thing on a highway, state officials said.

The legislation, sponsored by state Sen. James Holzapfel and Assembly members David Wolfe and Gregory P. McGuckin (all R-Ocean) will bring an end to the state's current maximum penalty for leaving the scene of a boating accident: a $25 fine.

The effort to strengthen penalties picked up steam in the wake of a 2008 fatal boating accident in Brick that claimed the life of Robert Post, an Essex Fells resident who owned a summer home in Point Pleasant Borough.

In the case, a Brick man, Anthony DiGilio, then 29, was charged with operating his 27-foot Imperial performance boat recklessly and then speeding away from the scene of the accident.

Though his damaged boat was recovered and he eventually faced vehicular homicide charges, DiGilio was found not guilty in April 2013.After the jury's verdict, interest in strengthening the "leaving the scene" law spiked and the bill – held up for years in the state legislature – began to move.

Under the proposed law, if an accident results in serious bodily injury, a person who leaves the scene could face a third degree criminal charge, punishable by three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000. If the accident results in a person's death, the charge would be upgraded to the second degree, bringing with it a potential five to 10 year prison term and a fine of up to $250,000.

Christie will sign the bill Thursday afternoon at the New Jersey State Police Marine Services Bureau Station in Point Pleasant Borough, ironically, the place where the boats involved in the 2008 accident were inspected.

After Christie signs the bill, he will travel to the Point Pleasant Beach boardwalk for a tour, beginning at 2:15 p.m.
Andy Pat July 03, 2014 at 08:10 AM
About time. A lot of blood has washed under the bridge. In the case they mention, a drunk killed an innocent boater, left the scene to hide evidence and avoid culpability. And it worked. He served zero time for his reckless and negligent actions that cost a man his life.
Princeton Van Zile III July 03, 2014 at 10:02 AM
Hasn't The Point Pleasant Beach Boardwalk been through enough stress?
Passing Through July 03, 2014 at 10:59 AM
As soon as they said Tacopina was DiGilio's attorney, I knew he was a free man and so did he. Not the first case the prosecutors office botched. And by botched, I mean was bought...
Richard J Frank July 03, 2014 at 03:19 PM
probably to feed his fat face w/ pizza and ice cream!

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