Portsmouth man cited in boat crash that killed Tiverton woman

DEM finds he was not speeding or operating in reckless disregard for the safety of others, however

Posted 10/17/19

PROVIDENCE — A Portsmouth boater who was involved in a collision with a two-person catamaran that led to the death of Sandra G. Taraglino of Tiverton in August is being cited with four …

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Portsmouth man cited in boat crash that killed Tiverton woman

DEM finds he was not speeding or operating in reckless disregard for the safety of others, however

Posted

PROVIDENCE — A Portsmouth boater who was involved in a collision with a two-person catamaran that resulted in the death of Sandra G. Taraglino of Tiverton in August is being cited with four violations of the Coast Guard’s Inland Navigational Rules.

The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has found, however, that Frank Teixeira, 75, of Portsmouth, was not speeding or operating his 28-foot cruiser, named @Last, in reckless disregard for the safety of others.

DEM announced Thursday, Oct. 17, that it has completed its investigation into the collision between the powerboat and the catamaran sailboat near the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge in which Ms. Tartaglino, 60, was killed on Aug. 11. 

Environmental Police Officer (EPO) Kevin Snow and Lt. Daniel White of DEM’s Division of Law Enforcement led the investigation.

Four law enforcement officers from three different agencies — the United States Coast Guard (USCG), DEM, and the Newport Police Department — did not observe any indication of alcohol or drug use, according to DEM. Officers did not see or find any alcohol containers on Mr. Teixeira’s boat. 

Investigators found that excessive speed was not a factor in the collision. DEM presented the case to the Office of Attorney General, which shares DEM’s conclusion that the facts and circumstances do not rise to the level of criminal conduct.

In order to charge a felony, namely Operating So As to Endanger – Resulting in Death, it would have to be proven that the operator intended or foresaw the consequence, knew his actions were wrong but proceeded anyway, or willingly acted recklessly knowing it would cause a death, according to DEM.

DEM will prosecute the four citations against Mr. Teixeira in the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal. Arraignment is set for Nov. 13. The violations include Risk of Collision, Action to Avoid A Collision, Responsibilities Between Vessels, and Failure to Keep A Look-Out. Each violation carries a maximum fine of $100. 

“Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight and hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision,” state the USCG rules. Sailing vessels have the right of way over power-driven vessels, the USCG rules also state.

“My heart goes out to the Tartaglino family who has suffered a terrible loss,” said DEM Director Janet Coit. “Boating on a crowded waterway in the summertime is very complicated and requires vigilance. Further, while there are rules governing the action of each vessel, some vessel operators either don’t know or follow the rules. That is why DEM urges all boaters to take a safety course.”

In Rhode Island, successful completion of a boating safety course is required for all boaters born after Jan. 1, 1986, who operate a boat with a motor greater than 10 horsepower, and for all operators of personal watercraft regardless of age.

Those wishing to see the DEM incident report may submit a request pursuant to the Access to Public Records Act by filling out this form and emailing it to DEM.filereview@dem.ri.gov.

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