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Everyone’s excited to get close to the water with the onset of summer, but with an increase of boaters out and about in the Chicago area, there’s an increase of the possibility of accidents. A grisly reminder of this came in mid-June when David Hatyina, 51, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the 2012 boating accident that claimed the life of 10-year-old Tony Borica, according to MyFoxChicago. Hatyina, according to Fox, “pleaded guilty to operating this boat under the influence of alcohol and cocaine” when he ran over the child last summer. The sentencing came after two days of “emotional victim-impact statements,” including a highly emotional statement from Tony’s oldest sister, Kaeleigh, 19. Kaeleigh, according to MyFoxChicago, “detailed the moment Hatyina’s boat plowed over her little brother. She saw the life preserver ‘holding the carcass that used to be my brother Tony,’” she told the courtroom.
Tony’s family testified that they wanted the boy to be remembered as a reason “for the eradication of drunken driving,” even if that driving is on the water, according to Fox. Christ Winters, an officer with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, testified that three different types of alcohol were found on Hatyina’s boat, and a different officer testified that Hatyina “failed field sobriety tests and admitted to drinking.” The accident occurred when a different boat crossed in front of Hatyina, forcing him to swerve forcefully and suddenly to the right, where he crossed paths with tiny Tony Borica.
In the U.S., a boat is classified as a motor vehicle, the same as a car or truck, making a boat DUI (or BUI) subject to the same punishments. According to the U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety Resource Center, “a boat operator is likely to become impaired more quickly than a driver, drink for drink.” Alcohol is involved in just more than 30 percent of all recreational boating fatalities.
If you or someone you know was injured in a boating accident in which alcohol was a factor, you may be eligible for compensation. Don’t go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Chicago personal injury attorney today.
Image courtesy of Robert Nilson / FreeDigitalPhotos.net