Family of Aransas Barge Crew Member Continues the Search for Answers
Over the last two weeks, we posted two blogs regarding a barge that exploded near Port Aransas, taking the lives of two men. In the first blog, we discussed the beginning of the Coast Guard’s hearing regarding the incident, and then we explored the heartbreaking eyewitness testimony that emerged during the trial’s first week. This week, our law firm assisted the family of Jackson as we continued their search for the truth.
“There Was No Warning”
As the trial has advanced, the testimony from the only eyewitness is profoundly heartbreaking. Lonnie Roberts, one of Zach’s crewmates, testified in court about the events he was forced to watch unfold.
Roberts stated that, “There was no warning. Zach was on the radio with me during that … there was never any concern from him in his voice.” Roberts continued by saying that the event was “a complete surprise and shock” when the flames erupted and violently threw his crewmates to the sea.
The brother of one of the killed men, who worked on a sister barge the same year, also testified about Bouchard. "They need to be held accountable for every action they've ever taken," he said to the Caller-Times.
Bouchard Responds to Recent Events
Bouchard Transportation has maintained its commitment to employee safety during initial investigations of the explosion. In a statement about the case, Bouchard upheld that safety is a foundation to operations and said that they are "fully cooperating with all requests for information from the U.S. Coast Guard related to this tragic incident as well as requests for information about our safety procedures and performance."
Despite these claims, Bouchard has put up roadblocks. On July 24, they filed a complaint stating that the Coast Guard’s investigation "has become adversarial to the Bouchard Companies and is actively advocating against Bouchard at every opportunity." The very next day, a federal judge denied the motion.
We Will Not Stop in Our Fight for Justice
Attorney Caj Boatright has been with the family, fighting every step of the way for the answers they deserve after this tragedy. In a comment to the Caller-Times, Boatright stated that, "We're fighting what is somewhat of a procedural battle to establish venue for the case. We have a state court case pending in Nueces County. It's stayed right now while the federal court decides whether or not to dissolve the limitation."
As the Coast Guard examines the evidence presented in the hearing, we hope they can reach a conclusion that provides healing for our clients. We look forward to furthering our fight for justice.