Serodino Denies Liability For Fatal Barge Accident

The Serodino barge firm has denied liability in a river accident that claimed the lives of two men.

Serodino filed suit in Federal Court asking for a ruling in a claim brought by the estate of Richard Wilkey, a Soddy Daisy native, who died along with Tim Spidle, of Elizabethton, Tn.

No claim has been filed by the Spidle estate.

The incident happened June 19 when the fishermen’s boat collided with a barge pushed by the M/V Bearcat tugboat at Possum Creek of Chickamauga Lake.

The suit says there was no fault or negligence on the part of the Chattanooga-based Serodino firm.

It asks that the court declare the value of the Bearcat not to exceed $1.1 million and its freight at the time not more than $11,615.

The Bearcat was involved in a similar deadly collision with a fishing boat on Watts Bar Lake on June 26, 2009, that claimed the life of Jones Bower Bare, 53, of Trap Hill, N.C.

A former pilot for the Serodino firm, in a separate federal suit, said the company was negligent in its river operations, causing the two accidents in which three people were killed in a 12-month time. 

Kelly O’Connor filed the “whistleblower” lawsuit. Saying he was fired for speaking out about alleged unsafe practices by the firm, he is asking back and forward pay as well as punitive damages.