Couple nearly killed in hit-and-run boat crash in New Jersey

Josh Einiger Image
Friday, July 15, 2022
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A couple and their dog, taking a moonlit boat ride on a lake in New Jersey, were nearly killed when another boat collided with them and then kept going. The couple spoke to Josh Einiger.

HOPATCONG, New Jersey (WABC) -- A couple and their dog, taking a moonlit boat ride on a lake in New Jersey, were nearly killed when another boat collided with theirs and then kept going.

The couple, Lisa Pechmiller and Jon Richman, were enjoying Lake Hopatcong, normally the picture of tranquility on a summer evening.

But just after dark Monday, Pechmiller and Richman found themselves propelled into disaster.

"I've never come this close to death in my life," Pechmiller said.

"It was like being in a movie set and I'm the stunt man," Richman said.

They were visiting family along the lake and had taken out a pontoon for a moonlit ride. That's when they caught a glimpse of another boat on a collision course with their own.

"I heard the noise of water and a motor and I looked over my left shoulder," Richman said.

ALSO READ | Woman and child killed in Hudson River boating accident

Pechmiller said she yelled out to Richman, telling him that the boat was headed right for them.

"And a voice in my head yelled 'duck' really loud," Richman said.

"The next thing I know, I'm flying through the air and the dog flying and we hit the floor of the pontoon," Pechmiller said. "I just yelled to Jon, I said, 'He didn't stop. He didn't stop.' He didn't know if he killed us or not, he just kept going."

The boat just sped off. Richman was able to follow for a bit, but then the crippled pontoon sputtered to a stop.

It was heavily damaged from an impact that could have been even worse.

The other boat was so close, Richman says its propeller grazed his back before speeding away.

"Did not alter his course did not alter his speed," Richman said.

New Jersey State Police have released an image of a boat that looks like the one that slammed into Pechmiller and Richman.

It's almost inconceivable that the runaway boat, having caused so much damage, wasn't damaged itself.

Troopers hope someone spots it and helps solve a hit-and-run that could have been deadly.

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