Probe of jetty sought as service set for Marlins' Fernandez
MIAMI (AP) As a public memorial service was set Wednesday for Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is seeking a safety probe into the rock jetty where a boat crash claimed the lives of the baseball star and two friends.
The team said in a news release that fans can gather Wednesday along the west side of Marlins Park for the departure of a funeral motorcade at 2:16 p.m. The 24-year-old Fernandez wore No. 16 on his jersey.
A public viewing will be held at St. Brendan's Catholic Church from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. A private funeral Mass will be held Thursday with family and Marlins players and personnel.
Rubio, a Florida Republican, sent a letter Wednesday to the Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers asking for a review of the century-old jetty and whether it poses a chronic danger to boaters. The jetty, which extends out from Miami's port, is difficult to see at night especially at high tide, Rubio said.
''While our hearts are heavy with grief for the numerous lives lost every year on the water, we can do more to save others,'' Rubio wrote. ''As a boater myself, I have experienced firsthand the challenges this particular jetty can present to others trying to navigate around it.''
Shortly after the 32-foot boat owned by Fernandez crashed early Sunday, the Coast Guard said a lighted buoy that marks the channel opening at the end of the jetty was working properly. The jetty itself does not have lights, but officials say routine reviews have concluded the existing navigational aids are adequate for safety.
The cause of the crash is being investigated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. In addition to Fernandez, Emilio Jesus Macias, 27, and 25-year-old Eduardo Rivero also died in the crash.
Investigators have said no evidence of alcohol or drug use was found at the scene, but medical examiner toxicology reports are pending. A Miami River bar and restaurant has confirmed that Fernandez was there before the crash, but it is unclear if he was drinking.
Highly popular in the Cuban-American community, Fernandez defected from the communist island at age 15 and rose to baseball stardom. He was National League Rookie of the Year in 2013 and was a two-time All-Star. This year he set a single-season Marlins strikeout record with 253.
Instead of flowers, the Fernandez family asks for charitable contributions to the JDF16 Foundation, which is online at www.MiamiFoundation.org/jdf16 .
Follow Curt Anderson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/miamicurt