Quinn will sign boating safety bill inspired by child's death
SPRINGFIELD -- Almost exactly a year after the boating death of Libertyville 10-year-old Tony Borcia, Gov. Pat Quinn plans to sign legislation Sunday that would take away some intoxicated boaters' licenses to drive cars.
Borcia was killed July 28, 2012, when he was hit by a 29-foot speed boat driven by David Hatyina of Bartlett. Borcia had been riding a tube behind his family's boat.
Borcia's aunt is state Sen. Julie Morrison, a freshman Democrat from Deerfield, who said she hopes the new law will help deter drunken boating.
"It's a very personal situation for my family," Morrison said. "Tony's gone. We can't bring him back."
Borcia's mom and dad plan to be at the bill-signing ceremony Sunday in Chicago. His dad, Jim Borcia, said the past year has been "maddening" for his family.
He has helped set up a foundation, the Y-Not Project. Y-Not is "Tony" spelled backward. The foundation is intended to try to help teach people that driving a boat drunk can be more dangerous than driving a car drunk, as lakes don't have street signs or speed limits.
"Boats don't have brakes," Jim Borcia said.
"It's going to happen again unless something changes," he said. "We're trying to prevent something like this from happening again."
The new law would subject a boater in a crash that causes injury or death to an alcohol test. If boaters refuse or are over the legal limit of 0.08 percent, their driver's licenses could be suspended.
Hatyina was found to have alcohol and cocaine in his system the day of Borcia's death, and last week, a judge declined to reduce his 10-year prison sentence.
Morrison said the new law would be the first time consequences for drunken boating would be tied to driving a car.
She had introduced other boating safety plans this year that weren't approved, and she's leading a meeting to talk about future legislation Aug. 29 in Libertyville.
"That was a first step," she said.
The Y-Not Project will host a fundraising whiffle ball tournament Aug. 11. More information can be found at www.ynotproject.com.