There are a number of new comments that have been posted by Ronald Zdrojewski, the son-in-law of William Gilson who died on the Ethan Allen. Mr. Zdrojewski makes some very strong points about the lack of consequences for those who caused the death of the Ethan Allen passengers.
Mr. Zdrojewski is not interested in litigation. But he does want justice. He notes:
We have been contacted by a reporter of the New York Times, that the driver of the boat was a retired State Trooper. We were told that your department did not take an alcohol blood test until 46 hours after the incident. Is there some kind of protectionism going on? I must say, that Jan and I are not interested in pursuing a law-suit of ‘wrongful death’, since that won’t bring her parents back to life. What we would desire, is to have all of the individuals involved in these killings, to be arrested and go to jail and end a good portion of their lives. This includes the captain and the owners of the Company, who wanted to push as many people on the boat as possible, so they could make more money.
I am very sure, the captain knew he was taking on too many passengers and the boat would lean one way or the other according to an uneven amount of weight of the passengers. However, the more people, he could get on board, the more money he would “take in.” Was this a push from the owners of the company or was he trying to look “good” as to how much money he could bring in? In any event, it seems to me that there is some kind of wait for a law-suit to pursue, and “let’s get it over”, and everything will quiet down. Not so! If no one is arrested for “Negligent Homicide”, then there will be a law-suit.
This sentiment is the core of what drives civil tort lawsuits. Family members, contrary to popular belief, don't start out lawsuit pursing money damages as their primary goal. However, they do want and need to know that justice is done. When the criminal system protects its own, or there are not criminal ramifications for negligence, civil lawsuits become the best and often only way to hold people accountable.
Another issue to consider. An accident is considered to be a happening where no one is at fault. I would consider a piece of rock falling from space and hitting my home an accident. However, when people are involved in motion, there is no such thing as an accident. The human being has control, or lack of control as a result of poor attention to what he or she is doing.
Here is another comment by Joe Benedict which caught my attention. Joe makes a great point about the lack of significance that the weight average had not been changed by the Coast Guard regulations (even assuming they had applied) given the gross instability of this vessel:
With the shape of the hull, and no keel, center of gravity higher with added roof, any halfway smart person could figure that was like putting 5 people in a clawfoot bathtub and then trying to take a corner. It may have 'floated' with capacity stated by inspectors. But in a straight line. I never ever would have got on that boat.This was about revenue per seat. period . It should never have been cleared for that many people. 140lbs or 170lbs a person doesn't matter. (30lbs x40ish =1200lbs) not much. That is a ploy to throw off the scent. this was about money, not safety.