Navy files negligent homicide charges against former Fitzgerald, McCain commanders

Posted at 3:59 PM, Jan 16, 2018

(KGTV/AP) - The Navy said Tuesday it is filing negligent homicide charges against the former commanders of the USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain after deadly collisions which killed San Diego sailors in the Pacific last year.

The charges will be presented at a military Article 32 hearing, similar to a civilian arraignment. It will determine whether the commanders are court-martialed.

Several lower-ranking officers are also charged, according to Navy spokesman Capt. Greg Hicks.

RELATED: San Diego sailors among the dead in USS Fitzgerald collision

The USS Fitzgerald collided with a commercial ship off Japan in June. Seven sailors died, including Yeoman 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, of San Diego, and Fire Controlman 2nd Class Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan, 23, from Chula Vista.

Ten sailors were killed when the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker in Southeast Asia in August. 

RELATED: Divers find remains of missing USS John McCain sailors

Fitzgerald Cmdr. Bryce Benson, who was injured in the collision, was relieved of duty last year. Benson and Cmdr. Alfredo J. Sanchez are charged with negligent homicide, dereliction of duty and hazarding a vessel, according to USNI news.