A hired captain who was involved in a fatal collision with a 23-foot boat while delivering a 60-foot Princess from last fall’s boat show in Newport, R.I., to the show in Norwalk, Conn., was arraigned Wednesday.
Cooper W. Bacon, 76, was arraigned at the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal and charged with three violations of the Coast Guard Inland Navigation Rules in the Sept. 22 accident, according to a report by The Westerly Sun.
Stonington, Conn., fisherman Walter Krupinski, 81 — the only occupant of the 23-foot powerboat — was killed in the collision. Seas were reportedly 4 to 6 feet off Watch Hill when the first reports of the collision came in from nearby boaters just after 10 a.m.
Bacon, of Cape May Court House, N.J., had a first mate aboard and is facing charges of improper navigation or failure to have a lookout, failure to take action to avoid a collision and improper overtaking of another vessel, the Sun reports. Each of the violations carries a maximum $100 fine.
Krupinski’s wife, Peggy, said she believes criminal charges should have been filed and plans to file a civil suit against Bacon. In an interview with the Sun, she compared a fatal boating collision to a fatal motor vehicle collision, in which a person at fault might face charges of negligent manslaughter or negligent homicide.
Although Rhode Island does not have a negligent manslaughter statute specific to boating, someone involved in a fatal boating accident could be charged with negligent manslaughter, similar to what might happen in a motor vehicle accident, according to Capt. John Mcilmail, of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Law Enforcement.
Bacon’s attorney requested the case be continued to May 4, stating that neither he nor his client have seen the case files or evidence, Mcilmail told the Sun.