David Hatyina will spend one year in jail for every year that Tony Borcia was alive.
Saying he was “aware of the impact” a prison sentence would have on Hatyina and his family, Kane County Judge Clint Hull on Friday sentenced the 51-year-old Bartlett man to 10 years in prison for running over and killing 10-year-old Tony Borcia on the Chain O' Lakes on July 28, 2012.
“I feel the judge made a proper sentence,” said Tony's father, Jim Borcia, after the two-day sentencing hearing at the Lake County courthouse. “No sentence could have given us what we really wanted, to bring Tony back to us.”
Hatyina, who is required to serve at least 85 percent of the sentence, was immediately taken into custody after the hearing, while family members from both sides burst into tears.
Defense lawyers had requested Hatyina not go to prison, partly because he has a 9-year-old daughter with Down syndrome.
Hull, who was appointed to try the case because the Borcia family has ties to another Lake County judge, could have sentenced Hatyina up to 14 years or given him as little as probation.
While Hull said it was clear Hatyina is remorseful over the boy's death, the judge said Hatyina chose to ingest cocaine, drink alcohol, and then drive a boat on a busy boating day on the Chain.
“The defendant was responsible for operating a boat in whatever condition was taking place on the lake,” he said. “You made certain choices that you, and everyone, wants taken back. ... The remorse comes too late for everyone.”
The sentencing comes about two months after Hatyina pleaded guilty to a single count of aggravated driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Hatyina was initially charged with five counts of aggravated operating a watercraft under the influence of alcohol and drugs that resulted in death, and four counts of reckless homicide. Those charges were dropped as part of the plea agreement.
In accepting the plea deal, Hatyina admitted he was intoxicated and had cocaine in his system when piloting his power boat, “Purple Haze,” on the Chain.
Tony Borcia and his sister, Erin, were riding on an inner tube towed by a boat operated by their father, Jim, at about 4:35 p.m. when a wave caused Tony to fall into the water.
Jim Borcia turned the boat to pick up his son, but authorities said Hatyina's 29-foot Baja bore down and ran over Tony, even though he was wearing a reflective life jacket and waving his arms frantically.
Investigators from the Illinois Conservation Police determined through blood samples that Hatyina had a blood alcohol content of between .09 and .12 percent before the crash. Blood tests also revealed Hatyina had cocaine in his system.
Earlier in the day, Hatyina said in a one-minute statement he was sorry for the pain he has caused the Borcia family, especially Tony's parents and siblings.
Margaret Borcia, Tony's mother, said Hatyina's words were hollow because it was the first time she has heard an apology.
“This was the first time he said he was sorry,” she said. “The first time we saw that was when he was on the stand.”
In a prepared statement after the hearing, Jim Borcia said “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 an mend the wound caused by this reckless and callous individual.”
Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Ari Fisz said he is hopeful the harsh sentence handed down by Hull will deter other incidents on the Chain O' Lakes.
“(Boaters) are now going to see if you do the type of thing the defendant did, you will go to prison for a very long time,” Fisz said.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.