Lobster Boat Captain in Maine Charged with Manslaughter in the Death of Crew Members

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A former lobster boat captain in Maine was charged with manslaughter in the 2014 death of his two crew members.

During a Maine fishing trip in 2014, a lobster boat captain and two of his crew members were out catching lobster when dangerous weather suddenly approached them. The waves were apparently so massive that it flipped their 45-foot boat over after they spent many hours pulling in lobster traps.

Two of the crew members died as a result of the boat flipping over. One of them was a teenage boy named Tyler Sawyer, 15, and the other was 26-year-old Tomas Hammond. The boat captain, Christopher Hutchinson, 28, was rescued after he was found floating on a raft. After he was rescued, he told his rescuers that a large wave hit the boat and blew out the windows of the wheelhouse, which is when water began filling up the boat.

Now this may seem like a horrible tragedy, but the United States attorney’s Portland office didn’t seem to think so. When Hutchinson’s blood was tested, there were traces of oxycodone and marijuana in there. This means that he willfully made himself negligent by taking these drugs and was not in the right state of mind to operate a boat with crew members on it. Since his negligence resulted in two people being killed, it resulted in the manslaughter charge against him on Monday.

Hutchinson reportedly pled not guilty to the charge. If convicted, he could face up to ten years in prison and forced to pay a $250,000 fine. In 2015, he faced civil charges over the incident and a judge rewarded $170,500 to the Tomas Hammond estate and $139,500 to a settlement fund for the parents of Tyler Sawyer. There is no word yet as to when Hutchinson’s criminal trial date will begin.

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