• Investigation Into Sandra Tartaglino Tragedy Nears Completion




    The DEM’s Division of Law Enforcement Marine Unit is responsible for investigating the boat crash that killed Sandra G. Tartaglino, 60, of Tiverton.

    NEWPORT — A decision on whether the driver of the powerboat that collided with a sailboat in Narragansett Bay in August— resulting in one fatality— will face criminal, civil or no charges should be announced in approximately two weeks, according to the chief of the Department of Environment Management’s Division of Law Enforcement.

    “We are in the final stage where the report is generally complete; it’s being reviewed. We review it both with our internal legal [counsel] at DEM [to determine whether to bring civil charges or none at all], and any incident of this type” is also reviewed by Attorney General Peter Neronha’s office to determine whether the state will bring criminal charges, DEM’s Division of Law Enforcement Chief Dean Hoxsie said Tuesday.

    The DEM’s Division of Law Enforcement Marine Unit is responsible for investigating the boat crash that killed Sandra G. Tartaglino, 60, of Tiverton, Hoxsie said.

    “We understand the public thirst for knowledge,” especially in a social media era where information spreads seemingly instantly, Hoxsie said. In a DEM press release in August, the agency said the investigation’s results were pending an autopsy, collision reconstruction and a collection of witness statements.

    “Everyone is pressured or stressed or emotional after an incident of this type and we want them to be able to...we want everyone to have a fair and impartial interview where they’re not pressured...so that we get the most accurate information that they remember having taken place,” Hoxsie said. “We’re not in that rush. Our goal is to get the most accurate information possible [and] develop a set of facts that would lead to a determination as to what happened.”




    He said the progression of the investigation and the time that’s elapsed since the Aug. 11 collision is normal.

    Boating fatalities “absolutely” take high priority, Hoxsie said. But “while this is a major incident that we’re working on, that was mid-summer,” and beaches, campgrounds and DEM officer hands were full. “We have other boating violations, fisheries enforcement...we have a myriad of issues that we look at [but] any amount of staffing that is necessary...is assigned and dedicated to [boating fatalities].”

    The DEM’s Division of Law Enforcement Marine Unit is responsible for investigating the boat crash that killed Sandra G. Tartaglino, 60, of Tiverton, Hoxsie said. The DEM’s Division of Law Enforcement is divided into three units: the Marine Unit, Upland Unit and the Criminal Investigation Unit. A Response Unit is also listed on the DEM website, but Hoxsie said there are currently just three active units due to staffing constraints. There are 32 DEM Division of Law Enforcement officers total when fully-staffed, but the division isn’t currently fully-staffed, Hoxsie said. Sixteen officers are assigned to the Marine Unit.

    “By statute, we are the agency in Rhode island mandated to investigate any boating accident within state waters unless it is a commercial vessel, which would then be investigated by [the] Coast Guard,” Hoxsie said.

    The Marine Unit is further divided into two units: Marine East and Marine West.

    “One of our [Marine East] boat accident re-constructionists is assigned as the primary” officer for the Aug. 11 fatal collision, Hoxsie said. “A majority of that officer’s time since that incident has been dedicated to that investigation.”

    That officer was assisted by another boat accident re-constructionist officer; a few other officers were also utilized during the investigation, Hoxsie added.

    Tartaglino died after a powerboat collided with a catamaran she occupied around 2:45 p.m. on Aug. 11. The collision occurred just north of the Pell Bridge. Tartaglino was competing in the New England 100 regatta, which is organized by the New England chapter of the NACRA Sailing Association. Dozens of people in the sailing community and various maritime organizations expressed their condolences on social media in the wake of Tartaglino’s death, noting her fierce athleticism and kindness.

    The DEM said in an Aug. 11 press release alcohol was not a factor in the crash. “The Narragansett Bay Marine Task Force was activated and the Newport Harbormaster responded first and recovered a 60-year-old woman, unconscious,” the release said. “The woman was later pronounced dead.”

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    This article was originally published in forum thread: 30th Anniversary of New England 100 Goes Terribly Wrong started by Photoboy View original post