Police: Alcohol a factor in Fox River boat crash

  • A pontoon boat sits partly submerged in the Fox River after a collision Saturday night involving a speed boat just off Barrington Harbor in Lake Barrington. Illinois Department of Natural Resources police said Monday that alcohol played a role in the crash, which sent four people to the hospital.

      A pontoon boat sits partly submerged in the Fox River after a collision Saturday night involving a speed boat just off Barrington Harbor in Lake Barrington. Illinois Department of Natural Resources police said Monday that alcohol played a role in the crash, which sent four people to the hospital. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 7/6/2015 7:43 PM

Authorities say alcohol was a factor in a Fourth of July crash involving a speed boat and a pontoon boat on the Fox River that sent four people to the hospital.

The pontoon boat was stopped in the river near Lake Barrington and the intersection of Midway Street and River Road in Cary about 9:45 p.m. Saturday when it was hit by the speed boat, said Cary Fire Protection District Assistant Chief Ken Destree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

None of the boats' passengers were thrown into the river, but the pontoon boat was left about three-fourths submerged in water, Destree said.

Destree said first responders from the Cary Fire Protection and Nunda Rural Fire Protection districts took three people from the scene to Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital near Lake Barrington for treatment of minor injuries.

Five others were taken to the east side of the river by boaters who came to help. Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District Deputy Chief Donald Wenschhof said four of those people refused medical treatment at the scene, but the fifth was taken to Good Shepherd.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources police Sgt. Rich Riedel said the agency is investigating the crash and charges are expected.

"It was a huge night for drinking," Riedel said. "(Before the crash) we had already arrested four different subjects for separate impaired boating incidents."

The investigation could take a month or two because it will require significant reconstruction. One issue investigators are trying to determine is if the pontoon boat had its lights on before the crash.

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