KENAI, Alaska — An Alaska fishing captain who led a crew on the program that spawned the cable TV show “Deadliest Catch” has pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide and driving under the influence in a fatal crash.
Clarence “Ole” Helgevold Jr., of Soldotna, pleaded guilty Friday in Kenai Superior Court under an agreement that stipulates he will serve five years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 25.
Helgevold, 60, originally had been charged with manslaughter in January when his car crashed with a snowmobile driven by George Larion. Larion, 47, was thrown from the snowmobile and died at the scene.
Helgevold was captain of the Arctic Dawn, the vessel featured in a 2004 three-part miniseries “America’s Deadliest Season.”
The show, effectively a pilot for “Deadliest Catch,” followed Helgevold and his crew during the 2003-2004 opilio crab season, the Peninsula Clarion reported.
Investigators said Larion was driving on a road in the early evening of Jan. 19 when his snowmobile was struck from behind by Helgevold’s car.
A plea agreement stipulates that Helgevold will serve 4 1/2 years in prison for criminally negligent homicide and six months for the DUI charge.
The plea deal also specifies four years of suspended jail time. Other conditions include a $5,000 fine with $1,000 suspended, and license revocation for three years and 30 days. Helgevold was ordered not to have direct or indirect contact with Larion’s wife. He also must submit to alcohol screenings and undergo alcohol treatment.
Judge Anna Moran must sign off on the final plea arrangement during sentencing and reserves the right to decide if the deal is harsh or lenient.
Helgevold is out on bail, with conditions. He cannot leave home for anything other than approved appointments, such as court hearings.
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