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Cosco Busan Pilot Indicted

John Cota, the pilot aboard the Cosco Busan when the ship “touched” the Bay Bridge last November, was indicted on felony charges this week.

© Jeff Berman

Federal prosecutors have indicted pilot John Cota for alledgedly lying to Coast Guard officials about prescription drugs he was taking. Cota was on the bridge of the Cosco Busan when it spilled 58,000 gallons of bunker oil after making contact with the Bay Bridge last November. The indictment didn’t include any details about the drugs, but according to an Associated Press report, the NTSB was told last week that Cota was prescribed pills, including the anti-anxiety drug Lorazepam, migraine drug Imitrex, wakefulness drug Provigil and pain reliever Darvon compound 65.

The AP also quoted Cota’s attorney Jeff Bornstein as calling the indictment "unprovable" and said they "bear no relevance," to the spill. Bornstein was also quoted as saying that Cota had passed drug and alcohol tests administered two hours after the spill.

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