https://www.nj.com/cape-may-county/inde ... al_bo.html
N.J. boat captain charged with manslaughter in fatal crash off Rhode Island
Updated Dec 20, 2017; Posted Dec 20, 2017
By Spencer Kent firstname.lastname@example.org,
NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
A New Jersey boat captain has been indicted by federal authorities on a manslaughter charge in a fatal boat crash that killed an 81-year-old man two years ago off Rhode Island.
Cooper "Chick" Bacon, 78, of Middle Township in Cape May County, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a charge seaman's manslaughter in federal court in Rhode Island, authorities said. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.
The boat crash killed Walter Krupinski, of Stonington, Connecticut, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office District of Rhode Island.
Bacon, who is free on bond, was ordered to surrender his U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Merchant Marine license and to refrain from piloting or operating any vessel while he awaits trial.
On Sept. 22, 2015, Bacon and a then-73-year-old Woodbine man were aboard a 60-foot, 2016 Viking Princess 60 when it collided with a 23-foot power boat, the Peggy K, in waters off Westerly, Rhode Island, killing Krupinski, the sole person on the vessel.
Bacon had been bringing the yacht from the Newport Boat Show to a boat show in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, previous reports said.
Earlier this month, prosecutors returned an indictment against Bacon alleging that he "failed to take precautions required of the ordinary practice of a seaman when he was at the helm of a yacht."
Bacon failed to "adequately assess the risk of collision; proceed at a safe speed; post his first mate to look-out; and properly overtake, give-way and steer well clear of the Peggy K," authorities said.
A Coast Guard official previously testified that Bacon's yacht was traveling at speeds between 25 to 31 knots and had auto-navigation engaged just before the crash, previous reports said.
In addition to 10 years in prison, seaman's manslaughter also poses three years of supervision upon release and a fine of up to $250,000.
Bacon was initially fined $300 earlier this year by a Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal after being found guilty of improper navigation or failure to have a lookout, failure to take action to avoid a collision and improper overtaking of another vessel.
Krupinski's widow, Peggy Krupinski, had told WesterlySun.com at the time that she felt the penalty was far too lenient.
Spencer Kent may be reached at email@example.com.