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Coast Guard Members Charged in Parade of Lights Boat Accident

Criminal charges have been filed against four members of the United States Coast Guard for various acts of negligence and irresponsibility that led to the death of Anthony Cole DeWeese during last year's Parade of Lights in San Diego. The yearly event attracts thousands of spectators and hundreds of boats, crowded into the San Diego harbor to participate in or watch the parade of watercraft, most decked out in holiday lights and decoration.

The tragic boat accident occurred as Coast Guard members sped through the harbor, supposedly in response to reports of a beached boat. Sitting in their path was the DeWeese boat, containing Anthony's family and a group of friends who had come along to watch the show.

The Coast Guard vessel, believed to have been traveling at an irresponsibly high rate of speed, crashed into the DeWeese boat, fatally injuring Anthony and severely injuring several others. Following the boat accident, many San Diego boat owners came forward to report a history of Coast Guard boats "hot-dogging" around the harbor at high rates of speed.

Charges against the four crew members range from involuntary manslaughter to aggravated assault and dereliction of duty. The boat's coxswain faces the most severe penalties and, if convicted, could face more than 10 years in prison. The least charged member of the crew faces about three months if convicted.

Investigations into the crash by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Coast Guard, itself, are ongoing.

The DeWeese family is also suing the federal government for negligence and wrongful death.

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