MIAMI (AP) — Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez was a patron at a Miami River bar and restaurant before he and two friends were killed in a boat crash, a spokeswoman for the establishment confirmed Tuesday.
American Social Bar & Restaurant spokeswoman Dana Rhoden said in an email that Fernandez was there before the accident. The statement did not say whether Fernandez had been drinking or what time he left.
The bar is along the Miami River in the city’s downtown section and allows boats to dock alongside.
Fernandez, 24, died when the boat he owned slammed at high speed into a rock jetty early Sunday just off South Beach, investigators say. Emilio Jesus Macias, 27, and 25-year-old Eduardo Rivero also died.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating. Spokesman Rob Klepper said in an interview Tuesday that there’s no timetable, and “we will provide a complete and thorough investigative report.”
The 32-foot boat named “Kaught Looking” — the “K” is backwards, signifying a strikeout when the batter does not swing — will be thoroughly checked for clues as to why the accident occurred, authorities said. Miami-Dade County prosecutors have obtained search warrants for wildlife commission investigators seeking access to the vessel, said Ed Griffith, a spokesman for the state attorney’s office.
“As you know, FWC has a duty to investigate fatal boating accidents like this one,” Griffith said in an email. “Since the incident involved a single boat and there were no survivors, there can be no criminal prosecution derived from the FWC investigation.”
The Miami-Dade County medical examiner has not yet released toxicology results that might determine if Fernandez or the other two victims had been drinking or taken illegal drugs. Klepper said that report would be part of the wildlife commission’s completed investigation. Authorities previously said no evidence of alcohol or drugs was found at the crash scene.
Meanwhile, a beachgoer found a bag containing four baseballs signed by the Marlins pitcher, WSVN-TV reported.
The station reported a black bag containing Jose Fernandez’s checkbook and four autographed baseballs apparently washed ashore on Miami Beach not far from the accident site.
Ocean Rescue Division Chief Vincent Canosa said the bag was given to a lifeguard and that it apparently came from the boat.
Enormously popular in Miami’s large Cuban-American community, Fernandez defected from Cuba at age 15, won the National League Rookie of the Year award in 2013 and became a two-time All-Star. He had been scheduled to pitch Monday night against the New York Mets, a game that instead became a tribute to him and remembrance of his life.
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