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Family of swimmer killed in alleged drunken boating crash files suit

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“The negligent, careless, reckless, grossly negligent and outrageous conduct” of an Atlantic City man killed an innocent woman last summer, her daughters claim in wrongful death lawsuit filed Monday.

Norma Michaels, 79, suffered fatal injuries when Jeffrey Jastrzembski’s boat propeller struck her while she was swimming with another woman Aug. 12, off Albany Avenue.

Jastrzembski, 53, is criminally charged with aggravated manslaughter in Michaels’ death. He was indicted in March.

Now, he faces a civil suit, attorneys for Saltz Mongeluzzi Bendesky announced during a news conference Monday.

The well-known Philadelphia-based marketing director’s life “was senselessly snuffed out when a speeding 20-foot Robalo boat operated by an impaired and intoxicated … Jastrzembski ran her over while she was swimming within yards of her home’s dock in the Intracoastal Waterway in Atlantic City,” the suit states.

“In the moments prior to running her over, Defendant Jastrzembski sped the Robalo directly toward Norma as she was swimming in the water, before making a late, aggressive portside turn, causing the boat’s outboard propeller to directly strike Norma, delivering fatal injuries to her head, neck, torso, arms, and legs,” it continues.

Witnesses at the nearby Wonder Bar told BreakingAC the same thing shortly after the crash.

The crash was captured by the bar’s surveillance camera.

The suit includes several unnamed John Does who represent the not-yet-known individuals or entities “that negligently entrusted, permitted, and/or allowed (the defendant) to possess the Robalo prior to causing the death of Norma Michaels.”

Jastzembski was listed as the registered agent for All Marine Center of Atlantic City LLC at the time of the crash, BreakingAC reported at the time.

It is a boat storage facility and repair shop at 1501 Albany Ave., according to records and the company's website.

Jastzembski’s blood-alcohol content was .195, nearly 2½ times the legal limit, according to information released at his detention hearing in January.

He was released from jail after that hearing, with the judge agreeing with the defense that his lack of criminal history made release with conditions possible.

“The grieving daughters of Norma Michaels have brought this lawsuit to obtain justice for Norma, to hold accountable the defendant, Jeffrey Jastrzembski, who has been indicted for his reckless operation of a boat while intoxicated and to promote public awareness of the lethal danger of drinking and boating,” said attorney Robert Mongeluzzi, who has represented numerous victims of maritime negligence nationwide.


Lynda Cohen

Lynda Cohen founded BreakingAC after working as a local newspaper reporter for more than two decades. She is an NJPA award-winner and was a Stories of Atlantic City fellow.

Sunday, May 19, 2024
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