New Jersey Man Indicted for Woman's Death in Drunk Boating Accident

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Jun 06, 2024 | 0 Comments

In a sobering reminder of the grave consequences that can ensue from impaired boating, a grand jury in New Jersey has indicted a New Jersey man in connection with a fatal boating crash that occurred in August of 2023. This tragic incident, which took place near the Albany Avenue Bridge in Atlantic City, resulted in the untimely death of 79-year-old swimmer Norma Michaels. If you or a loved one has been accused of DWI or BWI, the stakes are high--but you do not have to face them alone. To schedule a consultation, call the Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team at  888-535-3686 or use our online form

According to reports, the victim was swimming in the Intracoastal Waterway just off the dock adjacent to her home when 54-year-old Jeffrey Jastrzembski drove the watercraft toward her at a high rate of speed. When he swerved, Michaels was struck by the propeller and fatally injured. 

Investigators disclosed that at the time of the accident, Jastrzembski was operating a boat under the influence of alcohol, with a reported blood alcohol content of at least 0.19—well above the legal limit. The investigation concluded that Jastrzembski's intoxication and excessive speed were key factors in the crash. He now faces charges of first-degree aggravated manslaughter. 

Boating While Intoxicated in New Jersey 

In New Jersey, the law treats alcohol consumption on the waters with nearly the same level of severity as it does for drinking and driving on the roads. Operating a vessel while having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% constitutes boating while intoxicated (BWI). The penalties for BWI mirror those for DWI and can include fines, suspension of boating privileges, and even jail time. For instance, a first-time BWI offender can face a fine ranging from $250 to $400 and the loss of the right to operate a vessel for one year. A BWI conviction can also result in the suspension of a driver's license. The consequences escalate with subsequent offenses or if the incident involves bodily harm, as seen in the Atlantic City case. 

Lessons and Takeaways 

This case serves as a stark illustration of the critical importance of adhering to BWI/DWI laws in New Jersey. The state's approach to BWI and DWI offenses reflects a broader commitment to public safety and legal accountability. The law makes no distinction between recklessness on the roads or on the water—the consequences are equally serious, and the legal system is equally rigorous in its pursuit of justice. 

The case of the fatal crash in Atlantic City is also a somber reminder of the potential consequences of negligence and the importance of responsible behavior. Navigating the aftermath of a DWI or BWI charge can be overwhelming for individuals and their families, requiring not just an understanding of the law but a strategic and comprehensive defense. 

At the Lento Law Firm, our Criminal Defense Team understands the challenges and intricacies of dealing with DWI and BWI accusations in New Jersey. Our experience with the law and commitment to our clients position us as a reliable ally and advocate for those facing such serious charges. If you or a loved one has been accused of DWI or BWI, the stakes are high--but you do not have to face them alone. To schedule a consultation, call us at  888-535-3686 or use our online form.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in New Jersey and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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