Navy files homicide charges against commanders of two ships in deadly crashes

Two Navy commanders will face negligent homicide charges in relation to the fatal crashes of two ships off Asia last year, the Navy declared Tuesday.

The conclusion to file charges against service members of the USS Fitzgerald and the USS John S. McCain were determined by Adm. Frank Caldwell, who was given the authority and weighed the evidence of what caused the collisions, according to Navy spokesman Capt. Greg Hicks.

Former Cmdr. Bryce Benson of the USS Fitzgerald and former Cmdr. Alfredo J. Sanchez of the USS John S. McCain are among those charged, according to USNI News. Additionally, two lieutenants and one lieutenant junior grade of the Fitzgerald will also face charges, the Navy said.

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Among the charges are dereliction of duty, hazarding a vessel and negligent homicide.

A Chief Petty Officer of the McCain may also face a dereliction of duty charge, officials said, and administrative actions, including non-judicial punishment, will be taken for members of both crews.

The charges are to be introduced at what the military refers to as an Article 32 hearing, which will determine whether the accused are court-martialed.

“All individuals alleged to have committed misconduct are entitled to a presumption of innocence,” the Navy said.

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The USS Fitzgerald struck a commercial ship in waters off Japan in June, killing seven sailors. Ten sailors were killed when the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker in Southeast Asia in August.

This is a developing story; check back for updates. 

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