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Man sentenced in connection with 2019 Jefferson Township fatal boating incident

JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP, NJ (Morris County) –  A Lake Hopatcong man has been sentenced in connection with a 2019 Jefferson Township fatal boating incident, according to Acting Morris County Prosecutor Robert Carroll.

Nicholas Zarantonello, 25, was sentenced on Friday, Oct. 23, by the Hon. Stephen J. Taylor, P.J.Cr. to three years probation conditioned upon 364 days imprisonment in the Morris County Correctional Facility and completion of 200 hours of community service. He must also forfeit his right to operate a boat for one year and to operate a motor vehicle for three months, Carroll said.

Zarantonello had previously entered a guilty plea on July 20, 2020 to one count of third-degree strict liability vehicular homicide before Judge Taylor. He also entered a guilty plea to the boating regulation violation of operating a vessel under the influence, Carroll said.

The charges arise from a single-vessel boating incident that occurred on Lake Hopatcong in Jefferson Township on Aug. 3, 2019. The investigation revealed that Zarantonello was the driver of a pontoon boat on Lake Hopatcong with two passengers. While traveling on Lake Hopatcong, Jason Gill, 24, of Mount Arlington, NJ, one of the passengers, went overboard and did not resurface. Gill’s body was located in the water in Lake Hopatcong on August 5, 2019.

A further investigation revealed that Zarantonello had consumed alcohol prior to operating the pontoon boat and was intoxicated at the time of the incident, Carroll said.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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