New Jersey yacht captain indicted in death of Stonington boater
A federal grand jury in Providence on Wednesday returned an indictment charging the operator of 60-foot luxury yacht with manslaughter in the death of an 81-year-old operator of a 23-foot powerboat in September 2015.
According to the government, on Sept. 22, 2015, Cooper "Chick" Bacon, 78, of Cape May, N.J., failed to take precautions while at the helm of a yacht as it made its way from a boat show in Newport, R.I., to a boat show in Stamford, Conn.
The yacht, named Princess, collided with a 23-foot powerboat, the Peggy K, in waters off Westerly, killing its sole occupant, Walter S. Krupinski of Stonington. The collision occurred in Fishers Island Sound, on the waters off Napatree Point.
According to the government, Bacon failed to take precautions required by the ordinary practice of seamen, failed to adequately assess the risk of collision, failed to proceed at a safe speed; failed to post his first mate as a look-out, and failed to properly overtake and steer well clear of the Peggy K.
Bacon is scheduled to be arraigned on Dec. 19, before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Patricia A. Sullivan. Bacon was found guilty in March on charges of improper navigation, failure to take action to avoid a collision and improper overtaking of another vessel in Rhode Island state court and faced a $300 fine, which Krupinski's widow, Peggy, had said was not a harsh enough punishment.
The seaman's manslaughter charge is punishable by statutory penalties of up to 10 years imprisonment, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
The indictment was announced by Rhode Island Acting United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch; Admiral Steven Poulin, Commander of the First Coast Guard District, United States Coast Guard; and Richard Cox, Special Agent in Charge, Coast Guard Investigative Service, New England Region.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gerard B. Sullivan.
The matter was investigated by the Coast Guard Investigative Service.
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