Victim’s friend says he texted worries about boating
MIAMI >> Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez was a patron at a Miami River bar and restaurant the same night he and two friends were killed in a boat crash, a spokeswoman for the establishment confirmed Tuesday.
A friend of one of the victims said he warned him against the post-midnight trip, and Marlins center fielder Marcell Ozuna said he and at least two other teammates turned down invitations to go and tried to discourage Fernandez from going out.
American Social Bar & Kitchen 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.
A friend of Rivero’s, Will Bernal, said they texted each other shortly after midnight, before the trio pushed off. Bernal posted the messages on social media.
“Yo please be careful bro,” Bernal texted at 12:07 a.m. “I will bro,” Rivero said. “Try to keep him close to shore if you go out,” Bernal wrote back.
“Trust me,” Rivero wrote, “it’s not my time yet.”
Bernal then asked Rivero to turn on his “find iPhone” application and to “keep Jose cool.”
Ozuna, perhaps Fernandez’s closest friend on the team, said all of the players knew Fernandez planned to go out on the boat that night.
“It was a bad decision for him,” Ozuna said. “He heard everybody say, ‘No, go back to your house and take it easy.’ Then you wake up and see the news.”
Fernandez apparently had concerns he might be late to the ballpark for Sunday’s 1:10 p.m. game, because he asked Ozuna for a wake-up call.
“He said, ‘If I’m not here by 10, call me,”’ Ozuna said.
The Marlins announced a public viewing will be held Wednesday at a Miami church, preceded by a funeral procession scheduled to start at 2:16 p.m. outside the team’s downtown ballpark. Fernandez wore No. 16 on his jersey.
A private funeral will be held Thursday for the Fernandez family and Marlins players and personnel.
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 backward, 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.
Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner (11), center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury (22), and right fielder Aaron Hicks (31) observe a moment of silence for Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident early Sunday, before the Yankees’ game against the Red Sox in New York, Tuesday.