Sentencing is set for Nov. 1 for Matthew Devlin, who pleaded guilty Monday to involuntary manslaughter in the fatal duck boat accident in Philadelphia last year.
Devlin, 35, of Catskill, N.Y., could receive 37 to 46 months for his plea to one count of misconduct of a ship operator causing death. He also agreed to the permanent revocation of his U.S. Coast Guard license.
Devlin was on his cell phone and a laptop computer dealing with a family crisis at the time of the July 7, 2010, accident on the Delaware River, federal investigators concluded. He was in the lower instead of the upper wheelhouse of K-Sea Transportation Partners’ 2,400-hp tug Caribbean Sea, which pushed the 250’ sludge barge The Resource into the tour boat. Two passengers were killed.
Devlin said during the federal court hearing that he “didn’t really make the best decisions” after learning that his 5-year-old son had suffered life-threatening complications during routine eye surgery, according to the Associated Press. “I wish I could take it all back … I just wasn’t thinking clearly after getting that news.”
He is free on $10,000 bond.
The final National Transportation Safety Board accident report is expected this month.