10 Year Sentence for Drunk Boater Who Killed Child

A Bartlett man who hit and killed a 10-year-old boy last summer with a boat has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to aggravated driving under the influence.

The accident happened last summer in the Chain O’ Lakes in Lake County, Illinois. The boy was tubing with his family but lost the rope. As their boat circled back to pick up the child, his family watched as a boat driven by the Bartlett man speed towards and hit the child. The boat ran over him and the propeller caused too much damage to his body for the boy to survive.

The boater was arrested after the incident and tests revealed he had alcohol and cocaine in his system while he was operating the boat. Armed with this information, prosecutors charged the driver with reckless homicide and aggravated driving under the influence. The man pleaded guilty to aggravated driving under the influence and the sentencing phase concluded last week after a two day hearing. During the hearing, the defendant apologized for his actions to the family of the boy and a witness testified that the water was choppy that day, making it difficult to impossible to see a small boy in the lake. The defendant’s ex-wife also testified on his behalf as the two have a mentally disabled daughter that the defendant cares for and supports. Despite this testimony on the defendant’s behalf, the presiding judge sentenced the man to 10 years in prison, the same number of years that the victim was alive.

The family of the victim testified about how this accident has affected their lives. Though they know the sentence will not bring the child back, the family is hoping that this case will deter future boaters from this kind of reckless behavior. They have set up a fund in the boy’s memory and plan to raise awareness for boating accidents.

The tragic thing about any accident caused by a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol is that they are unnecessary and can be prevented. By abstaining from consuming any substance that may negatively affect the ability to drive, a driver of a car, operator of a boat, or other person controlling a motorized vehicle will be safer than those who consume drugs.

If you have been injured or a family member has been injured or killed in a boating accident, you may have a claim for your damages in addition to any criminal charges asserted against the boater. This means that you can recover for your medical bills and any lost wages you were unable to earn.

If you have been injured in a boating accident, call the Chicago injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. for a free telephone consultation. We can be reached at (312) 924-7575 or toll free at (855) 529-2442 and we have a lawyer standing by to take your call now. With a history of representing victims involved in drunk driving accidents, we know the law and we are ready to help you get a recovery you deserve, so please call us today.

Prior Blog Entries:

Woman Killed in Bridgeport Hit-and-Run Crash, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published June 17, 2013.

Chicago Bike Weeks Hits the City, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published June 14, 2013.


Boater in fatal DUI gets 10 years, by Susan Berger, Chicago Tribune, published June 15, 2013.

Bartlett man charged with reckless homicide, DUI in boy’s tubing death, by Lisa Black, Chicago Tribune, published August 14, 2012.


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