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Tugboat Operator Indicted

The operator of a tugboat that was involved in a fatal collision with a fishing boat in June 2010 has been indicted for criminally negligent homicide. Charles Warren Luetke was arrested, and is already out on bail.

The collision occurred on June 19, 2010, when the tugboat was pushing a barge formation of three 200-feet barges. The two fishermen were thrown out of the fishing vessel when it was involved in a collision with the tugboat. They sustained fatal injuries. A third fisherman also sustained injuries, but survived the accident. He has already filed a maritime lawsuit related to the accident.

The tugboat was owned by Serodino Inc. The company has been involved in two fatal maritime accidents over the past couple of years. It was involved in an accident in June 2009, in which a North Carolina man suffered fatal injuries. That accident also involved a fishing boat and a tugboat. The tugboat operator in that maritime accident was not indicted.

The Coast Guard is investigating both accidents. It is investigating whether there was a lookout on duty on board the tugboat at the time. Serodino Inc. continues to insist that the accident was caused solely by the negligence of the fishermen, including the two men who died.