“I Pray for Justice,” Says Missouri Death Trap Duck Boat Survivor Tia Coleman; Urges State Prosecutor to Pursue Charges After Federal Court Dismisses Case Against the Boat’s Captain and Two Co-Workers

Indianapolis, IN (December 8, 2020) – Tia Coleman, the Indianapolis mother whose husband and their three young children drowned in the 2018 Branson, Missouri death trap duck boat disaster, said she “prays for justice” after the dismissal of criminal charges against the boat’s captain and two management co-workers. Ms. Coleman vowed to continue her fight for justice and this morning, through her lawyers, thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri for its attempted criminal prosecution and urged the Missouri State Attorney General to pursue criminal charges so “those criminally responsible for 17 preventable deaths can finally be held accountable by a jury.”

Mrs. Coleman, represented by Robert J. Mongeluzzi, Andrew R. Duffy, and Jeffrey P. Goodman of the Saltz Mongeluzzi & Bendesky law firm (www.smbb.com), survived the ordeal on storm-ravaged Table Rock Lake and has dedicated her life to making sure the kind of dangerously designed death trap tourist duck boats that killed her family are forever banned from American waterways and roads. She asked, “What does it say about us as a society if those who put profits over passenger safety can get away with their criminal acts? And what does it say if our Congress between now and year’s end cannot find it in its heart to pass the pending, non-partisan duck boat safety act (S. 1031) that can prevent the loss of more innocent lives?”

Tia Coleman still mourns the loss of her beloved husband, Glenn, and their babies; Arya Coleman, 1; Evan, 7, and Reece, 9. While we respect the federal Court’s reasoning, we urge the Missouri Attorney General to pursue state criminal charges for the outrageous conduct that took Tia Coleman’s beautiful family from her.

Robert J. Mongeluzzi

Mr. Duffy said the factual record, based on the grand jury investigation that led to the charges, and the findings of the National Transportation Board (NTSB), “left no doubt that the criminal defendants attempted to beat an accurately forecasted, potentially ferocious storm instead of canceling the trip and giving refunds to the passengers.”

Mr. Goodman added, “State criminal charges would demonstrate that Missouri does not tolerate any decision that values money over human life.”

The Tia Coleman legal team includes Douglas DiSandro, Jr., of SMB, and Missouri-based Attorneys Gregory W. Aleshire and Kevin J. Rapp of Aleshire, Robb & Rapp. 

Editor’s Note: Tia Coleman is conducting no interviews at this time and appreciates the respect for her privacy. Any media inquiries should be directed to counsel as noted below.

Contacts:
Robert J. Mongeluzzi / rmongeluzzi@smbb.com / 215.850.6571
Andrew R. Duffy/ aduffy@smbb.com / 609.320.4919
Jeffrey P. Goodman / jgoodman@smbb.com / 215.840.6450
Steph Rosenfeld / steph@idadvisors.com / 215.5144101

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