Man charged with boating while intoxicated in incident that cost Ridgewood man his life

THE COURIER/photo by Terence Cullen

There is currently no criminality suspected after the body of a missing Ridgewood man was recovered less than 24 hours after he reportedly fell off his boat. However, the man on the vessel with him is charged with boating while intoxicated.

An NYPD Harbor Patrol boat recovered Stanislaw Nawrocki’s body around noon on Friday, August 10, in the waters of the East Rockaway Inlet. Nawrocki’s body was then brought to the Atlantic Beach Basin, police said, where it was transferred to Nassau County police because Nawrocki was initially reported missing from Long Island.

A spokesperson for Nassau County police said the body was positively identified by family members. An autopsy has been conducted and the investigation is ongoing, pending toxicology reports.

Alex Santiago, who owns Forest Avenue Florist across the street from Nawrocki’s Ridgewood liquor store, Mira Wines & Liquors, said the boater normally brought his wife out on the water with him. This particular day, however, Santiago said his neighbor had been working on something and took a local homeless man with him for help.

Nawrocki was a happy, hard working man, Santiago said. The night before his fatal trip, Santiago said, he had gone to see Real Madrid play AC Milan at Yankee Stadium and was excited about it.

The man boating with him, Janusz Sowa, 54, has been charged with boating while intoxicated after arriving at the Crow’s Nest Marina in Oceanside with a blood alcohol level of .17, according to the Nassau County district attorney’s office.

Sowa told police he was was on the boat when Nawrocki fell overboard. He reportedly looked for the man for about 90 minutes, before heading to the marina to report him missing.

Marina officials called 9-1-1, the marina’s owner said, and a search between the NYPD, U.S. Coast Guard and Nassau County police began.

The marina owner, who would not give his name, said Nawrocki stored the boat there every summer for the last few years. He said when Sowa returned to the marina, he appeared to be very drunk. Sowa also appeared to not know how to operate the boat, the owner said, and could not get the boat into its slip.

Sowa, reported to be homeless, appeared before a Nassau County judge on Friday, August 10. Bail was set at $100,000 bond or $50,000 cash.

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