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No. 1 of 2012: Petite Lake boat accident takes boy’s life

David Hatyin50 Bartlett is being charged with reckless homicide aggravated driving under influence causing death as he ran over killed

David Hatyina, 50, of Bartlett is being charged with reckless homicide and aggravated driving under the influence causing death as he ran over and killed 10-year-old Tony Borcia of Libertyville while driving a boat on Petite Lake on July 28 in Lake Villa. | Special to Sun-Times Media

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The words of Tony Borcia’s family said all that needed to be said after the 10-year-old Libertyville boy was killed in a July 28 incident that cast a harsh spotlight on Chain O’ Lakes boating safety.

“At one moment, (he was) enjoying a fun-filled afternoon with his family, smiling, laughing and having the time of his life,” family members said in a statement. “The next moment, he was taken from us forever.”

Borcia’s death, which will resonate into 2013 in both the criminal and civil courts, was voted by News-Sun staff members as the top news story in Lake County for 2012.

According to Lake County sheriff’s deputies and prosecutors, Borcia was killed after he fell off an inner tube while boating with his family on Petite Lake. Wearing a red flotation device and waiting for his family’s pontoon boat to circle back and pick him up, Borcia was struck by a speedboat operated by 50-year-old David Hatyina of Bartlett, causing fatal injuries. Authorities charged Hatyina with reckless homicide and aggravated driving under the influence, alleging that he had a blood-alcohol level between .09 and .128 at the time of the incident — above the legal limit of .08 — and also that he had used cocaine.

According to a News-Sun report following the incident, more than 70 boaters were arrested for operating under the influence (OUI) by the sheriff’s marine unit through early September, with most of the arrests taking place on the Chain. That number was nearly triple the total OUI arrests from 2008.

During preliminary hearings in August, it was revealed that Hatyina had a previous OUI charge in 1996. He would be freed on $1 million bond and placed on a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew while awaiting a trial that will be presided over in Lake County Circuit Court by Kane County Associate Judge Clint Hull. On Dec. 13, a wrongful death lawsuit was by the Borcia family against Hatyina and a passenger in the craft, Renee Melbourn, seeking damages in excess of $50,000.

While the legal process moves along, his father, James Borcia, released an open letter in late August asking the community to remember a Butterfield School fifth grader.

“Tony touched so many lives and loved so many that his life here was a blessing from God, to which I am so thankful for and grateful. He was such an easy child to raise — he was always happy and loved to be around his family. ... We were so blessed to have him as our son, our brother, our friend for 10 glorious years.”

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