Legislation inspired by man who drowned following prank heads to state LegislaturePosted: Updated:
Legislation inspired by the death of an Ossining man who drowned when a prank went horribly wrong is headed to the state Legislature.
Ossining's Sheila Lilley says her son, Bryan Johnson, drowned in 2012 after a group of people went out on a boat for a late-night swim at Orchard Beach in the Bronx. She says they were intoxicated when the driver pulled a prank and drove away, leaving Johnson in the water. By the time they got back, it was too late.
"Kids need to learn the safety of a boat and should know what they should do and should not do," says Thomasina Laidley-Brown, Johnson's grandmother.
Bryan Johnson's Law is headed to the state Senate and Assembly for a vote. Sen. David Carlucci, the bill's sponsor, says it allows judges sentencing a DWI case to also consider boating while intoxicated.
"The idea here is to send a harsh message so say you cannot drink and drive and you cannot drink and operate a boat successfully," says Sen. David Carlucci.
Carlucci says there has been over 200 fatalities in New York waterways in the past decade. Johnson's family is hopeful his story will make a difference.
"I feel like my son accomplished something," says Lilley. "That he didn't die in vain. That he is making a difference."
Carlucci hopes Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs the bill into law by Memorial Day.