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Coast Guard petty officer pleads guilty in San Diego Bay crash that killed boy

March 29, 2011 |  3:52 pm

Anthony DeWeese. A Coast Guard enlisted man pleaded guilty Tuesday to dereliction of duty in the 2009 crash in San Diego Bay that killed an 8-year-old boy from the Rancho Penasquitos neighborhood.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Ian Howell, in a military proceeding held at Camp Pendleton, was sentenced to be reduced in rank, restricted to base for a month, and have his pay reduced by two-thirds for a month.

Charges of negligent homicide and assault were dropped against the 28-year-old Howell, who has asked to be discharged.

Witnesses said the 33-foot Coast Guard craft was needlessly speeding when it collided with a civilian boat during the annual Parade of Lights on the night of Dec. 20, 2009. Anthony DeWeese, on the boat with his family, was killed. Five others were injured.

Last week, Petty Officer 3rd Class Paul Ramos, 22, was sentenced to three months confinement, reduction in rank and a temporary pay reduction after being convicted by a court-martial jury of dereliction of duty.

Ramos, who was driving the boat, was faulted for not conducting a risk assessment before the cutter sped off to a routine call of a stranded boat. He was acquitted of involuntary manslaughter and other charges.

Howell, the senior member of the crew the night of the collision, is the last of four Coast Guard members to have criminal charges adjudicated. 

One crew member, assigned as a lookout, pleaded guilty dereliction of duty and was given a letter of reprimand; charges against another crew member were dropped for insufficient evidence.

"We take this opportunity to again extend our deepest sorrow and condolences to the victims of the crash and their families," Coast Guard spokesman Dan Dewell said after the Howell sentencing.

The DeWeese family is suing the Coast Guard for negligence and wrongful death.

The Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board are continuing to investigate the crash.


Four Coast Guard members charged in fatal crash in San Diego Bay

Coast Guard officers will be court-martialed for fatal collision in San Diego Bay

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Anthony DeWeese. Credit: KTLA