The captain of a Princess 60 that ran into a 23-foot Steiger Craft center console off Westerly, Rhode Island, two years ago, killing its owner, has pleaded guilty in a federal court in Providence to a charge of seaman’s manslaughter.
About 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 22, 2015, a clear, sunny day, Cooper “Chick” Bacon, of Cape May, New Jersey, a Coast-Guard licensed captain, was driving the Princess from Newport to Stamford, Connecticut. The Princess ran into the Steiger Craft, the Peggy K, killing Walter S. Krupinski, 81, the only person on board, who was returning home to Stonington, Connecticut, after fishing.
In an earlier trial, a police officer testified that the Princess “essentially rode over” Krupinski’s boat.
In announcing the guilty plea, the U.S. Attorney’s office for Rhode Island said that the GPS on the Princess showed it was traveling at 25.2 knots. Bacon 79, was running the boat on autopilot from the salon. It said:
“Prior to the collision, the defendant failed to take precautions required by the ordinary practice of a seaman. Bacon did not post his First Mate to lookout, did not make proper use of radar, and did not himself see the powerboat in time to avoid the collision. As a result of his failure to see the Peggy K, Bacon did not make passing arrangements, sound the horn, slacken speed, or stop or reverse propulsion to avoid a collision.
“After the collision, Bacon failed to make proper use of the VHF marine radiotelephone by notifying the United States Coast Guard of the emergency.”
Bacon is scheduled to be sentenced on January 17. Read more: