Couple killed in Fox River boat crash remembered as 'kindhearted and giving'

Tim Mertins loved going out in his boat in the evenings with his wife, often taking friends and family along, according to a longtime family friend.

Authorities on Monday identified Mertins, of McHenry, as one of two people killed Saturday when a boat sped off the Fox River, flipped over and landed in a yard along Country Club Drive near McHenry.

The Illinois Conservation Police said the second victim was Mertins' wife, but authorities have not yet released her name, nor has the family confirmed it.

Authorities said they are investigating what caused the boat to run aground at about 5:40 p.m. Saturday, before hitting the decking of a home, breaking apart and landing on top of the victims.

Tim Mertins, 62, was pronounced dead at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, where he'd been airlifted after the crash. He died of blunt force injuries suffered in the crash, according to the Lake County coroner's office. His wife was pronounced dead at the crash scene, authorities said.

Longtime friend Sandi Schober said Mertins' wife was from Schaumburg and attended Conant High School in Hoffman Estates. They met decades ago as teens, working together at a Brown's Chicken in Schaumburg, she said.

They attended different colleges, but kept in touch, visiting each other at school, "camping with the girls" in the summer and getting together for family holiday parties, birthdays and christenings, Schober said.

"No matter the distance, we kept up with each other and picked up where we left off," she added.

Schober described the couple as "always kindhearted, giving, hardworking people."

"They raised two great kids, a boy and a girl," Schober added, saying both children are now adults.

Schober said she's often gone boating on the Fox River with Mertins and his wife during summer visits.

"We really had a lot of laughs and great memories," she said.

The boat was described by conservation police as a 33-foot Cobalt. After it left the river, the twin outboard cruiser traveled 73 feet onto the shore, authorities said. Witnesses reported the boat was traveling very fast up and down the river, weaving back and forth across the water, conservation police said.

Neighbors described harrowing scenes of trying to help remove the couple from underneath the boat.

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