A Cushing captain accused of causing the deaths of two crew members when his lobster boat sank in a storm is behind bars again after he reportedly overdosed on heroin.

Christopher A. Hutchinson, 28, was arrested Thursday by the Maine Marine Patrol after U.S. District Judge D. Brock Hornby issued an arrest warrant for him Wednesday.

Hutchinson was in the Cumberland County Jail on Friday night after being transferred from the Knox County Jail in Rockland.

He is scheduled to go on trial later this year on two counts of seaman’s manslaughter for the deaths of Tom Hammond, 27, of Rockland and Tyler Sawyer, 15, of St. George and Waldoboro. The two were crew members aboard his lobster boat No Limits, which sank on Nov. 1, 2014.

Hutchinson was arrested Dec. 19 on the seaman’s manslaughter charges and released three days later on $10,000 unsecured bail. The court imposed conditions that Hutchinson not use or possess illegal narcotics.

But on March 13, Waldoboro emergency medical services and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of an unresponsive man at a residence in Friendship, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland.


Officials found Hutchinson unresponsive, not breathing and with a faint pulse, according to the report. Two doses of the drug Narcan were administered to Hutchinson, who then regained consciousness.

Hutchinson refused to be taken to the hospital and claimed he had been working long hours and had not eaten. He also said he was a diabetic.

The sheriff’s office notified his probation officer, who told Hutchinson to submit to a drug test the next day. The test showed morphine and oxycodone in Hutchinson’s system, according to the probation officer’s report. Hutchinson initially denied he had taken any drugs and claimed his drink had been spiked, but later admitted to his probation officer that he had overdosed on heroin, according to the probation officer’s statement filed in court.

Acting U.S. Attorney Richard Murphy signed an order seeking Hutchinson’s arrest, pointing out that Hutchinson continues to operate a lobster boat, posing a danger to himself and others.

Hutchinson is being represented in the manslaughter case by attorney Michael Turndorf of Portland. His previous attorneys, Jeremy Pratt of Camden and Philip Cohen of Waldoboro, have withdrawn from his case.

Turndorf asked that the trial be delayed from its current starting date of June 5 to allow him more time to review the case.


In an interview Hutchinson gave a few days after his boat sank, he said the No Limits was on its way back to the mainland after a day of hauling traps when the seas and winds quickly intensified, causing the 45-foot fiberglass lobster boat to flip.

A weather buoy nearby reported wind gusts of 40 knots and waves of up to 14 feet. The boat flipped about 11 a.m. several miles west of Matinicus, he said.

The federal indictment alleges that Hutchinson was negligent in operating the vessel by going out when the weather forecast called for dangerous weather and sea conditions. The government also claims he was using controlled substances and alcohol while he drove the vessel.

The indictment alleges that Hutchinson purchased oxycodone without a prescription, smoked marijuana and drank alcohol prior to departing on the fishing trip.

A blood test on Hutchinson at the hospital showed oxycodone and marijuana in his system, according to the indictment.

In July 2015, Superior Court Justice Daniel Billings ruled that $170,500 in damages should go to Michelle Miete of Washington, who is the personal representative of the estate of Hammond, and the remaining $139,500 of the settlement fund will go to Lisa Chickering and Travis Sawyer, the parents and personal representatives of Tyler Sawyer.

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