Jose Fernandez killed in boating accident

SumnerH

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Sorry, didn't specify. Was speaking nasal vs IV.
The question was about crack, which is generally smoked and has a lower risk of OD than regular coke. But, yeah, IV usage is by far the most dangerous; that's more typical of regular coke (really, you have to reverse the coke->crack process by dissolving crack in vinegar to be able to shoot it, so there's no point in converting to crack if you're going to shoot it up).
 

EastCoasterOutWest

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Jan 23, 2009
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I think that should be the takeaway. Imagine a story where 3 guys in their 20s get drunk and coked up at a bar, get into their SUV, take it up to near maximum speed despite poor driving conditions, and slam headfirst into a telephone pole with the result that all of them are killed. I doubt many here would pick "tragedy" as the first word they'd use to describe that situation.
Depends. Is one of those guys famous and adored?

People would want to ascribe the word tragedy if that's the case because "he could have done so much with his life" and other such idolization.

Here's how I categorize Fernandez now that we know the truth: idiot

I wonder how many other times he'd done the exact same thing before the odds caught up with him.
 

Valek123

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Honest question - how could they ever determine who was driving? Weren't all the bodies thrown from the boat? It's not like walking up to a car crash and someone is in the driver's seat.
I can't find the reference now, but wasn't there a phone call from Fernandez made to a friend shortly before the incident when they left the club where he made reference to the driver(aka not him operating)? Am I not remembering this correctly or was that retracted?

Authorities have interviewed a “highly reliable” witness who said he was on the phone with Fernandez just before the crash and heard the pitcher giving another person directions about where to steer the boat, he said.

“If you tell me that he’d been drinking, I’d say, ‘So?’ He wasn’t driving — and he was very careful about that,” family attorney Ralph E. Fernandez added.
Found it
 

KiltedFool

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Dec 22, 2005
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Seems like the alcohol and cocaine is just the cherry on top of the stupid and tragic sundae. By all indications the accident was easily possible/plausible with no impairment, due to the darkness, speed of the boat, and potentially upset/angry pilot.

Adding in impairment from alcohol and/or cocaine and it just makes it less of rolling snake eyes on the dice and more of a "Well shit, no surprise there."
 

skippy500

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May 28, 2014
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Cocaine use is about 5-10 times as deadly as alcohol use, per capita (about 36 per 10000 cocaine users will overdose in a given year, compared to about 6 deaths per 10000 alcohol users). That's actually skewed in favor of cocaine, as it's comparing just ODs from cocaine to all alcohol-related deaths (including others killed in car accidents, etc).

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-scope-cocaine-use-in-united-states
https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-facts-and-statistics
https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates
Deaths are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the societal damage alcohol causes though. Plus cocaine overdoses are most often the result of combining it with alcohol.

http://drugabuse.com/library/concurrent-alcohol-and-cocaine-abuse/
 

Van Everyman

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Depressing. I remember there was a lot of speculation but did it ever come out why he was apparently so distraught that night?
 

Rovin Romine

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I think it had something to do with his girlfriend/baby's mother. The finding that Fernandez was operating the boat will be significant regarding wrongful death claims against his estate. His blood alcohol level was .146. The limit for presumptive impairment in FL is .08. He also had cocaine in his system. FWIW, that BAL, on average, is in the "others will notice" category of intoxication - slurred speech, poor coordination and judgment, the occasional stumble, etc. It's not quite, again on average, staggering drunk, or falling down drunk, but it's impaired.

There are probably some nuances in here - perhaps the finding is not conclusive, or maybe there's a post-death blood alcohol level effect, or maybe Fernandez was habituated to that blood alcohol level. However, absent some strong mitigating factor, the most-likely scenario is simply: Fernandez drank to the point where he clearly shouldn't be behind the wheel and thereby killed himself and two of his friends.

In terms of Fernandez's legacy, on one hand, it's often unjust to condemn a person's whole life for one bad decision. On the other hand, I doubt this was the first time Fernandez did this, the circumstances were entirely of his own making, and the final consequences, the deaths of two other people, are pretty much impossible to balance against someone who played a sport infectiously. That pushes his death from "unfortunate or avoidable tragedy" into "what a fucking asshole" territory. Not that the guy in any way deserved to die, but the way he actually did (killing others with him) pretty much destroys any positive legacy he had.
 

smastroyin

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I think the fact that it is a boat opposed to a car will make his legacy a lot less tarnished. There is less chance of innocent bystanders being casualties (this means a presumption of complicity on the part of the two other guys on the boat) and I'm guessing most people think that casual boating while intoxicated isn't that big of a deal. (To be sure, I don't agree with this, I'm just talking in terms of legacy).

If he'd been driving a car and killed some poor family sitting at a red light, the pitchforks would be out. We are an outcomes based society of outrage, for better or worse.
 

drbretto

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That's a sad turn. I agree 100% with RR's post.

If you're looking for any kind of context on blood alcohol level, you can catch a couple of the mythbusters episodes on drinking. They were running experiments at the legal limit of .08 and they were seriously, noticeably buzzed, and kind of shocked that they were still in legal driving range. .146 is flat out drunk. That does completely change the story here.
 

Reggie's Racquet

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Thank you RR. That's about where I am at with this as far as his legacy. I am anxious to see if MLB, the Marlins or the press walk back any accolades he received after his death.
 

Marciano490

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I think it had something to do with his girlfriend/baby's mother. The finding that Fernandez was operating the boat will be significant regarding wrongful death claims against his estate. His blood alcohol level was .146. The limit for presumptive impairment in FL is .08. He also had cocaine in his system. FWIW, that BAL, on average, is in the "others will notice" category of intoxication - slurred speech, poor coordination and judgment, the occasional stumble, etc. It's not quite, again on average, staggering drunk, or falling down drunk, but it's impaired.

There are probably some nuances in here - perhaps the finding is not conclusive, or maybe there's a post-death blood alcohol level effect, or maybe Fernandez was habituated to that blood alcohol level. However, absent some strong mitigating factor, the most-likely scenario is simply: Fernandez drank to the point where he clearly shouldn't be behind the wheel and thereby killed himself and two of his friends.

In terms of Fernandez's legacy, on one hand, it's often unjust to condemn a person's whole life for one bad decision. On the other hand, I doubt this was the first time Fernandez did this, the circumstances were entirely of his own making, and the final consequences, the deaths of two other people, are pretty much impossible to balance against someone who played a sport infectiously. That pushes his death from "unfortunate or avoidable tragedy" into "what a fucking asshole" territory. Not that the guy in any way deserved to die, but the way he actually did (killing others with him) pretty much destroys any positive legacy he had.
Is the discussion about whether Fernandez was noticeably intoxicated relevant to the wrongful death claims against his estate? That is, is there an assumption of the risk defense if the estate can show his friends knew or should've known he was drunk/high and got on the boat with him anyways?
 

drleather2001

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Is the discussion about whether Fernandez was noticeably intoxicated relevant to the wrongful death claims against his estate? That is, is there an assumption of the risk defense if the estate can show his friends knew or should've known he was drunk/high and got on the boat with him anyways?
Isn't this per se negligence? Is assumption of risk an affirmative defense that's even available?
 

Reggie's Racquet

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Is the discussion about whether Fernandez was noticeably intoxicated relevant to the wrongful death claims against his estate? That is, is there an assumption of the risk defense if the estate can show his friends knew or should've known he was drunk/high and got on the boat with him anyways?
“A passenger who is aware that intoxication has deprived the driver of reasonable control of the automobile may be found to be negligent, Strychalski v Dailey, 65 AD3d 546, 883 NYS2d 586 (2d Dept 2009); Bergeron v Hyer, 55 AD2d 1001, 391 NYS2d 767 (4th Dept 1977); Verdino v Hayes, 10 AD2d 978, 201 NYS2d 853 (2d Dept 1960); Burnell v La Fountain, 6 AD2d 586, 180 NYS2d 52 (3d Dept 1958). To take the issue to the jury there must be evidence, in addition to the fact that the parties drank together, from which impairment of driving ability can reasonably be inferred, Eisenberg v Green, 33 AD2d 756, 305 NYS2d 769 (1st Dept 1969); see Coleman v New York City Transit Authority, 37 NY2d 137, 371 NYS2d 663, 332 NE2d 850 (1975).”

So maybe...
 

Average Reds

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In terms of Fernandez's legacy, on one hand, it's often unjust to condemn a person's whole life for one bad decision. On the other hand, I doubt this was the first time Fernandez did this, the circumstances were entirely of his own making, and the final consequences, the deaths of two other people, are pretty much impossible to balance against someone who played a sport infectiously. That pushes his death from "unfortunate or avoidable tragedy" into "what a fucking asshole" territory. Not that the guy in any way deserved to die, but the way he actually did (killing others with him) pretty much destroys any positive legacy he had.
Like Pelle Lindberg 31 years later.
 

Montana Fan

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Not a comment on the sad story about Fernandez but thought you all would be interested to know that the Utah legislature is looking at reducing DUI offenses from .08 to .05 BAC.
 

drbretto

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Not a comment on the sad story about Fernandez but thought you all would be interested to know that the Utah legislature is looking at reducing DUI offenses from .08 to .05 BAC.

I'd support that. What's that, about 2 and a half beers in an hour? Give or take. That's still enough to get the giggles, but low enough to still be in control.
 

Rovin Romine

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Is the discussion about whether Fernandez was noticeably intoxicated relevant to the wrongful death claims against his estate? That is, is there an assumption of the risk defense if the estate can show his friends knew or should've known he was drunk/high and got on the boat with him anyways?
Isn't this per se negligence? Is assumption of risk an affirmative defense that's even available?
If they were all high on cocaine and drunk does it matter who was driving?
Y'all are good. This is not my area of practice, so take all that follows with a grain of salt. I know for sure that FL is a comparative negligence state. I'm pretty sure there is no express or implied assumption of risk available under these facts, since that usually involves risks intrinsic to the act - like expected physical contact during athletics perhaps leading to injury. But there's no intrinsically expected crash, with the chance that it may or may not result in injury. Under comparative negligence that facts that would animate an assumption of risk defense could probably be used to argue the defendants were also negligent and bear a percentage of the cause of their injury. However, that's not an absolute defense - at most, it's a reduction of the final award by like percentage. It will ultimately be up to the jury.

However, we're still talking about a celebrity boat owner, drunk and on cocaine and piloting, who opened up the throttle to full while approaching a well known navigational hazard at night. You can slice it a dozen ways, but I think the passengers always come out ahead by a significant margin, no matter the relative levels of drunkenness or sobriety of any/everyone.
 

Rovin Romine

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I haven't followed the civil suit, but there's an article in the Herald today that's. . .well, it's unique.

http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/mlb/miami-marlins/article207873354.html

Main facts gleamed are that the families of the dead men are seeking $2mil each from the Fernandez estate.

The estate's attorney is suggesting someone may have involuntarily drugged Fernandez with cocaine to attempt to steal $15k in cash which allegedly existed and went missing that night.

Also, nonspecified stuff on why Fernandez may not have been at the wheel. (Which was to be expected.) At the end of the day, Florida has a "Dangerous Instrumentality" doctrine, which establishes strict vicarious liability for (among other things) the owner of a vehicle who lets another operate it. Either Fernandez plowed his boat into a rock jetty at full speed, or he let an unlicensed inexperienced boater do it while he sat by.

All this seems very smoke and mirrors to me. Part of my job is running scenarios, imagining what "I'd do" (or an idiot would do) given the facts, or slightly different facts.

Even accounting for natural human stupidity, if I were going to rob a guy, clandestinely coking him up first isn't high on my subjective list of plausible things I'd do. I'd think anyone who came up with a viable "drug and steal" scenario, and who had enough brains/skill to pull it off, would also realize they should be going for a sedative or possibly a hallucinogen.
 

DrewDawg

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When doing those scenarios how hard is it to put yourself in the mindset of someone that may not exactly be criminal mastermind.

Sure, Mr. Law School might figure it out...
 

Marciano490

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When doing those scenarios how hard is it to put yourself in the mindset of someone that may not exactly be criminal mastermind.

Sure, Mr. Law School might figure it out...
True, but if you’re going to rob someone, giving them a drug that makes them hyper alert and paranoid might not be your best move and that’s not something you need to be particularly bright or well-educated to know.
 

Rovin Romine

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True, but if you’re going to rob someone, giving them a drug that makes them hyper alert and paranoid might not be your best move and that’s not something you need to be particularly bright or well-educated to know.
Yep. And presumably anyone in that situation has the cocaine in hand, and therefore knows what it does.

***

It's far more likely the attorney just wanted to try to argue that someone else gave JF the cocaine, so JF isn't liable for his actions while under the influence of cocaine. Hence the implausible story.

(And what upstanding citizen keeps $15K in cash in a briefcase on their fishing boat? I can think of exactly one thing you'd want to spend it on, while out in the dark ocean. And it's something Miami's famous for.)
 

Marciano490

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Wasn’t there some really bad cocaine going around Miami around that time? I had a friend OD (and survive) off a line that was mixed with something icky about then. Would that come up on the autopsy?