Questions of restitution delay sentencing of 2 men involved in fatal parasailing accident
Published: September 20, 2013
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ST. THOMAS - Nearly two years after a tragic parasailing accident killed one woman and severely injured her daughter, two men were prepared to hear the sentencing for their involvement.
However, questions of restitution got in the way.
Kyle Coleman, the boat captain who took the women out for their parasailing tour, and Joe Campana, who owned the tour company, both appeared in District Court on Thursday.
Presiding District Judge Curtis Gomez delayed their sentencing until 3:30 p.m. Sept. 27 so that the prosecution could get documents in order that would confirm that the defendants did not need to pay additional restitution to the daughter.
CWS Tours LLC, Campana's company and Coleman's employer, already paid restitution in the "millions," according to Treston Moore, Campana's attorney, but it was in a separate civil case.
Moore said there was no requirement by the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act that their clients pay restitution, even though this was a separate criminal case.
Gomez requested that the prosecution, Assistant U.S. Attorney Everard Potter, confirm that restitution not be duplicated by reason of the act.
"The concern here is whether the government has done what it's needed to do, or whether it's relied on third parties," Gomez said.
The restitution already paid was kept confidential, and Moore was adamant that it stayed that way, though he said turning over the information to Gomez might make it clear that no further restitution is necessary.
Coleman pleaded guilty to one count of operating a motor vessel in a negligent manner, and Campana pleaded no contest to misconduct or neglect of a ship owner.
According to the plea agreement, Coleman will face up to one year in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000. CWS Tours, or Campana, faces a maximum penalty of five years probation and a fine of up to $250,000.
Also as part of the agreement, CWS Tours agreed to take part in two public service announcements produced with the U.S. Coast Guard to promote parasailing safety and has agreed to help promote Coast Guard recommendations within the parasailing industry to develop better safety standards.
Campana and Coleman both have expressed their regret that they did not make better choices leading up to incident on Nov. 15, 2011.
Bernice Kraftcheck, a 60-year-old tourist from Round Lake, Ill., and her daughter, Danielle Haese, went parasailing with CWS Tours just south of Water Island.
The wind began to pick up and the tow line holding the two women snapped, causing the pair to plunge into the water while the sail was still being propelled by the wind.
- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.