Yacht captain ordered to surrender marine license while awaiting trial in death of Stonington boater

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Providence — A Rhode Island judge on Tuesday ordered the operator of a 60-foot luxury yacht to surrender his merchant marine license and refrain from piloting or operating any vessel while awaiting trial on manslaughter charges in the death of an 81-year-old Stonington man.

Cooper "Chick" Bacon, 78, of Cape May, N.J., was indicted by a federal grand jury on a manslaughter charge on Dec. 6. According to the government, Bacon failed to take standard precautions while at the helm of a yacht as it traveled from a boat show in Newport, R.I., to a boat show in Stamford, Conn. The yacht collided with a 23-foot powerboat 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 in Westerly.

Bacon pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Tuesday and was released on a $50,000 bond. U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Patricia A. Sullivan ordered him to surrender his U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Merchant Marine license to the Court, and to refrain from piloting or operating any vessel while awaiting trial. The judge also ordered Bacon to surrender his passport and prohibited him from traveling outside of the United States.

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. The manslaughter charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.

The arraignment was announced by acting U.S. Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch; Admiral Steven Poulin, commander of the First Coast Guard District, U.S. 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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