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Hatyina gets 10 years for fatal boat accident

David Hatyinwipes tears from his eyes after reading statement during his sentencing hearing. | Steve Lundy/Daily Herald

David Hatyina wipes tears from his eyes after reading a statement during his sentencing hearing. | Steve Lundy/Daily Herald

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Updated: August 14, 2013 2:37AM

The Bartlett man who was under the influence of cocaine and alcohol when he ran over Libertyville 10-year-old Tony Borcia with his boat last summer was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison — matching the age of Tony’s life.

David Hatyina, 51, listened to two days of emotional victim-impact statements from the Borcia family before Kane County Judge Clint Hull delivered his ruling Friday afternoon. Hatyina had previously pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol resulting in Tony’s death on June 28, 2012, on Petite Lake.

Tony had fallen out of his inner-tube when Hatyina ran him over while Tony’s father and three siblings watched.

“No sentence can bring what we really want — to bring Tony back. We believe justice has been served,” Tony’s father Jim Borcia said after the sentencing hearing.

Assistant State’s Attorney Ari Fisz said he hopes the sentence will deter other boaters from making the same mistake.

“They’re now going to see if you do the type of thing the defendant did, you’ll go to prison for a very long time,” said Fisz, who had asked the judge to consider the maximum penalty of 14 years. Hull’s ruling could have ranged from probation or three to 14 years in prison.

Tony’s sisters, Kaeleigh, 19, and Erin, 13, spoke Thursday about how their brother’s death impacted them. Both said they had difficulty in school and flashbacks of the horrific scene.

“Kaeleigh’s brother was 10. He got to be on this earth for 10 years. Kaeleigh thinks and so do I that the defendant should not go to prison for any less,” Fisz said. “The bottom line is that Tony’s family deserves justice.”

Hatyina gave a tearful apology to the court, saying he would never drink again.

Hull said he found Hatyina’s apology to be genuine.

“I know if you could go back in time, ... you’d change what happened July 28. None of us have that power,” Hull said.

Despite the eight witnesses defense attorneys Jim Ryan and Jack Donahue called to testify about the level of Hatyina’s impairment, the chop of water and boat traffic, Hull said he found those factors did not mitigate Hatyina’s responsibility to operate his boat in a responsible manner.

Hull also said he considered the fact that Hatyina’s daughter with special needs will be impacted by Hatyina’s incarceration. Hatyina’s ex-wife testified Friday that her daughter relied on her father for financial and emotional support.

“The sentence I impose will cause pain to your daughter. This weighs heavily on this court,” Hull said.

Citing those issues, the defense pressed Hull to consider a sentence of probation. Donahue also said Hatyina sought grief counseling after the July 28 incident.

“What he does do is he gives up his boat, he sells his trailer and he tells people he never wants to boat again,” Donahue said.

Hatyina said he had ingested cocaine the day before he went boating with his girlfriend. Law enforcement officials testified during the two-day sentencing hearing that cocaine residue was found in the cup holder near where Hatyina was standing.

Hatyina admitted to using cocaine since 1994, Hull said.

“I wish there were no drugs,” Tony wrote in a second grade school project that Fisz showed the court at the sentencing hearing. Tony wanted to be a police officer, his sister said in her victim impact statement.

“I wish there were no drugs, too. He might still be here today. He was an incredible kid and he did not deserve what happened,” Fisz said.

More than 50 people — mostly Tony’s family and friends — were present at the sentencing hearing. They wore buttons with Tony’s smiling face.

Hatyina was remanded into custody at the conclusion of the sentencing hearing awaiting transport to Illinois Department of Corrections.

“While Mr. Hatyina is serving his prison sentence, the Borcia family will be honoring their baby boy by living their lives with his love and infectious smile in their hearts and helping each other to try to mend the wound caused by this reckless and callous individual,” Jim Borcia said.

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