MIAMI — The lawyer for star Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez claims the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s investigation of the boat crash that killed Fernandez and his two buddies was “a woeful effort riddled with error, misstatements, speculation and faulty reasoning.”
Ralph Fernandez, the big shot Tampa lawyer who’s no relation to the pitcher, but considered him a son, filed the scathing letter in response to a legal filing from the families of the two other men killed in the boat crash, who are seeking punitive damages.
The families of Emilio Macias and Eduardo Rivero used the information from the FWC’s report — which included the findings that Fernandez was driving the speeding boat nearly 65 mph in complete darkness with cocaine and lots of alcohol in his system — to make the case they were owed millions of dollars in punitive damages.
Ralph Fernandez says not so fast.
He’s laid out 30-plus “areas of concerns” with the FWC report which includes: There are no photos or videos that show where fire rescue found the bodies; the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner’s didn’t follow proper procedures and performed the autopsy on the dead without FWC investigators present; FWC compromised potential evidence by towing the boat to dock in rough seas rather than conducting immediate forensics at the crash site; information from a call made on Jose Fernadez’s phone just before impact wasn’t taken into account and FWC didn’t take advantage of videos that caught the boat riding by.
What’s more, the filing says that FWC’s claim that the star pitcher was piloting the boat came from an anonymous tip to a hotline.
“We have no idea who the caller was. Could be a homeless guy on the street mouthing off,” Ralph Fernandez said. “They (the FWC) won’t tell us.”
FWC Spokeswoman Susan Smith didn’t return a call or email for comment.