Libertyville boy identified as victim of fatal boat accident
Authorities Sunday identified a 10-year-old Libertyville boy as the child killed Saturday when he fell from an inner tube in the Chain O' Lakes and was struck by a motorboat.
Tony Borcia died as a result of traumatic injuries suffered in the accident, which occurred a little after 4:30 p.m. on Petite Lake, near Lake Villa, said Lake County Coroner Artis Yancey. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Sgt. Brett Scroggins of Illinois Conservation Police said Sunday an investigation into the boy's death is ongoing and probably will take at least a few more days to conclude.
"We're going over the boats involved today, interviewing witnesses and going over evidence as we would with any boat accident," he said.
Among the factors under investigation, Scroggins said, is the manner in which the boats involved were being operated at the time of the accident and whether alcohol played a role. Neither of the boats' drivers were charged or cited immediately following the accident, but both submitted blood samples for testing, he added.
The lake was crowded Saturday, as is normal for a warm Saturday in July, Scroggins said, but that does not appear to be a significant factor in the fatal accident.
"The (Petite Lake) sandbar is busy on most Saturdays, but at the present time there doesn't appear to be any correlation," he said.
Authorities said Tony and a family member were riding together on an inner tube being pulled by a pontoon boat when the 10-year-old boy fell off and was struck by a recreational motorboat. Two other members of the family were treated after the accident for nonlife threatening issues not directly related to the collision, Scroggins said.
Julie Morrison, Tony's aunt who is running for the 29th district Senate seat, released a statement about her nephew's drowning Sunday night.
"On Saturday afternoon, my family lost our 10-year-old nephew, Tony Borcia, in a boating accident. I would ask that you please respect the privacy of my family and I during this difficult time," the statement read. " My family and I appreciate your thoughts and prayers. Remember, life is short so reach out to the ones you love."
Tony, who was entering fifth grade at Libertyville Elementary District 70's Butterfield School, was a well known, bright and happy boy, according to school officials.
"Tony was well liked by the students and loved by the staff," said principal Candice Kehoe in a prepared statement. "Entering fifth grade, Tony was to be a leader in the school."
Relatives of the boy spoke to reporters outside his home Sunday.
"Tony was the sweetest, nicest boy. His smile lit up the room," Don Morrison told ABC 7. "He loves his family and his friends to no end. He will be so terribly missed."
Boaters using the Chain on Sunday said that while the lakes are busy with boat traffic, especially on weekends, accidents are rare and can be avoided by exercising caution.
"Even if there is no boats out there, you have to look all the time," said Dave Dudzinski of Mundelein. "It's just like driving on the road. We have lanes on the road. There are no lanes out there, so you have to pay more attention."
Melonnie Hartl, who runs the C.J. Smith resort in Antioch, said boat traffic actually seems to be declining in recent years but she still avoids boating on Saturdays and Sundays.
"There are a ton of boats. But for the number of boats that are out here, really, there is not that many accidents," she said. "We cater to the smaller fishermen, so sometimes these huge boats, it's kind of crazy. I wouldn't go out on a weekend."
"Logic and common sense has to prevail," added Gordon Miller, who runs the service shop at the Inland Harbor Marina in Antioch. "It is nothing short of a tragedy (what happened), but adults need to make better decisions."
District 70 is reaching out to social workers who are off for the summer, to have them return to work this week to be available to help students and parents. Social workers will also focus on helping students cope on the first week of school, starting Aug. 22.
"Tony will always be remembered as a bright, happy boy who loved going to school, spoke proudly of his siblings, and showed a genuine love for his family and friends," said Superintendent Dr. Guy Schumacher, who got to know Tony while serving as principal. "He will always be thought of as a student of whom to be proud, and a caring and endearing member of our school community."