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NTSB: Coast Guard craft's 'excessive speed' caused fatal crash

July 12, 2011 |  1:50 pm

Anthony DeWeese, killed in the Dec. 20, 2009 collision. The National Transportation Safety Board has concluded that a fatal collision between a Coast Guard vessel and a civilian craft in San Diego Bay was caused by the Coast Guard boat's "excessive speed" and a lack of "effective oversight" of small-boat operations by the Coast Guard.

The decision was reached at a meeting Tuesday in Washington.

An 8-year-old boy was killed and five other persons injured when the 33-foot Coast Guard vessel collided with the 24-foot Sea Ray on the night of Dec. 20, 2009.

The collision, the NTSB concluded, was the result of "excessive speed at which the coxswain operated the Coast Guard [vessel], given the prevailing darkness, background lighting and high vessel density."

The Coast Guard vessel was traveling at an estimated 48 mph, the civilian craft at an estimated 5 mph.

Another factor in the collision, the board said, was "the U.S. Coast Guard's lack of effective oversight of its small-boat operations both nationally and at Coast Guard Station San Diego."

Four of the five crew members aboard the Coast Guard vessel were criminally charged by the Coast Guard. The driver was convicted of dereliction of duty and given three months in the brig; two other crew members were convicted of lesser charges; one had the charges dropped.

The Coast Guard is conducting a separate investigation. The family of the boy, Anthony DeWeese of Poway, has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the federal government.


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Photo: Anthony DeWeese, killed in the Dec. 20, 2009 collision. Credit: Family photo