An Illinois man pleaded guilty today to a charge of aggravated DUI in a boating accident that took the life of a boy last summer. David Hatyina, 51, was accused of being over the legal alcohol limit when his boat struck young Tony Borcia on July 28. Hatyina also had cocaine in his system during the incident. He faces up to 14 years in prison. Hatyina will return to court for a pre-sentencing hearing on May, 16. He’s due to be sentenced in June. Hatyina is currently free after posting ten percent of a $1 million bond. He will remain free until he is sentenced.
The plea deal was negotiated in front of Kane County Judge Clinton Hull. Hull was appointed due to Borcia’s family ties to another Lake County judge. Both of Barcia’s parents are well known lawyers and his uncle is a judge. Hull informed Hatyina that he could receive prison time or probation if the court finds that there were “outstanding circumstances” surrounding the case. He was initially charged with five counts of aggravated DUI, but those counts were dropped as part of the plea deal. Officials also dropped a reckless homicide charge. Borcia’s family members in attendance openly wept as Hatyina plead guilty. Hatyina sat quietly in a dark colored suit during most of the hearing, say little other than ‘yes, sir’ to the judge.
Borcia was riding an inner tube towed by a boat, when a wave sent him into the water. Borcia’s father, who was operating the towing boat, immediately turned around to pick up his son. The accident happened at 4:35 p.m. on Petite Lake, July 28, 2012. Petite Lake is just off Illinois Route 59 near Lake Villa. Hatyina was driving a large white boat towards the boy at roughly 40 mile per hour. Onlookers attempted to get his attention by waving and screaming at him, but it was of no use. Hatyina didn’t reduce his speed or alter his direction. His boat fatally struck the young boy, killing him instantly.
Divers and emergency personnel from several surrounding towns rushed to the area. The victims were eventually found by tracking a cell phone of a witness who called the police. Two other individuals were also taken two the hospital in connection with the accident. Their injuries weren’t life threatening.
The boy’s funeral drew thousands of attendees last year.
Illinois Conservation Police took blood samples from Hatyina. The BAC at the time of the blood draw was .054. They were able to determined that he had a BAC between .09 percent and .128 percent during the time of the accident. Officers also impounded his boat after the crash. They found several alcoholic beverages and cocaine residue after inspecting the confiscated vehicle.
Hatyina and Renee Melbourn, a passenger on his boat, have been named in a wrongful-death suit by the Borcia family. The suit seeks damages from both Hatyina and Melbourn. The Borcia’s are seeking more than $50,000 for the boy’s mother, Margaret Borcia, in addition to $50,000 for each person in the immediate family who witnessed the boy’s death.