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Duck Boat Accident: Tug Pilot Will Ask For Judge’s Mercy

(A barge pushed by a tug boat bears down on a disabled duck boat in the Delaware River just before the fatal collision in July 2010.  NTSB photo)

(A barge pushed by a tug boat bears down on a disabled duck boat in the Delaware River just before the fatal collision in July 2010. NTSB photo)

Mike Dunn Mike Dunn
Mike Dunn is City Hall bureau chief for KYW Newsradio 1060. He covers...
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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The attorney representing the tugboat pilot pleading guilty in the fatal duck boat crash says he will ask the judge to spare his client jail time because of the circumstances that led to the accident.

Matthew Devlin’s attorney, Frank DeSimone, says the tug first mate decided to plead guilty to manslaughter because his negligence came after receiving word of a medical crisis involving his son.

DeSimone says no thought was giving to pleading “not guilty” and fighting the charges.  Devlin has also given up his maritime license (see related stories).

DeSimone will, however, ask the judge to spare Devlin from prison because of the circumstances.  He says the accident was due to Devlin’s strong reaction to word that his son had suffered complications during surgery.

“His five-year-old son, having this procedure done, and his believing that he was deprived of oxygen for eight minutes (and) was either going to die or be brain-damaged… his (Devlin’s) entire system shut down, and he wasn’t making good decisions,” says DeSimone.

The lawyer says Devlin still has sleepless nights over the deaths of the two Hungarian students:

“He feels terrible, him being a parent — knowing how he felt about his son — he feels the same way about the two young people who died.  It’s just bothering him.  He didn’t get up that morning to do anything wrong.”

Reported by Mike Dunn, KYW Newsradio 1060

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