Judge lets Lake prosecute Petite Lake boat crash case
A judge ruled Tuesday the Lake County State's Attorney's office will handle prosecution of a Barlett man accused in a fatal boating crash, even though the 10-year-old victim once had ties to the office.
Kane County Judge Clint Hull ruled that despite victim Tony Borcia's relationship to a Lake County criminal court judge and a former assistant state's attorney, it would not be improper for that office to prosecute David Hatyina.
The decision came after defense attorney Jack Donahue of Naperville requested the case be handled by prosecutors who did not have ties to the Borcia family.
Borcia, of Libertyville, is the nephew of Lake County Judge Raymond Collins, and nephew to a former Lake County assistant state's attorney.
"We were saying there was a possibility of the appearance of impropriety should the Lake County State's Attorney's Office prosecute," Donahue said. "It came after this court brought in a judge from Kane County to rule on the case."
Hatyina, 51, faces 14 years in prison if found guilty of reckless homicide and aggravated operating a watercraft under the influence for allegedly being intoxicated and on cocaine when he struck Borcia with his boat July 28.
Soon after charges were filed against Hatyina, a Lake County judge requested that a Kane County judge be brought in to try the case because of Borcia's ties to Collins.
Donahue argued that if a new judge was brought in, then the state's attorneys office should also be disqualified because prosecutors often argue criminal cases in front of Collins.
"But, there is no relationship between the state's attorney's office and the family of the victim," Hull ruled. "So, I deny the motion to disqualify the state's attorney's office."
Hatyina remains free on $1 million bond after striking Borcia with his 29-foot Baja speed boat on Petite Lake when Borcia and his 12-year-old sister were in the water after falling off an inner tube.
Illinois Conservation Police investigators determined through blood samples that Hatyina had taken cocaine before the crash, authorities said. In addition, authorities said blood tests revealed Hatyina had a blood alcohol content of between .09 percent and .128 percent at the time of the crash.
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