Tia Coleman, the Indianapolis mother whose husband and their three young children drowned in the July 2018 Branson, Missouri death trap duck boat disaster, said today her “prayers have been answered” after the Missouri state Attorney General announced the filing of numerous felony charges – including manslaughter – against the boat’s captain and two of his co-workers allegedly responsible for the 17 deaths, including those of her husband, three children, and five other relatives.
Federal charges against the three had previously been filed then dismissed due to lack of federal jurisdiction.
Mrs. Coleman, represented by Robert J. Mongeluzzi, Andrew R. Duffy, and Jeffrey P. Goodman of Saltz Mongeluzzi & Bendesky, 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.
I’m so hopeful that we are one major step closer to justice for all those that perished, and to preventing that what happened to them from ever happening again.
“Tia Coleman believes deeply in our justice system, and she still mourns the loss of her beloved husband, Glenn, and their babies; Arya,1; Evan, 7, and Reece, 9, said Mr. Mongeluzzi. “She never lost faith in the Missouri Attorney General, who we urged on her behalf to undertake this prosecution, to pursue state charges for the outrageous conduct that took her beautiful family from her.”
Mr. Duffy said he and his legal team believed the comprehensive factual record in the case “leaves no doubt that the now state of Missouri 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, “There will never be closure for the Coleman family, or any of the other families devastated by this preventable tragedy, until all those responsible are held accountable by a jury in a Missouri courtroom. We commend the Missouri AG’s office for taking this action.”
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.