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Man charged in boat crash that killed two in LeClaire

Iowa DNR Conservation Officers charged 44-year-old James Thiel, of Pleasant Valley, with...
Iowa DNR Conservation Officers charged 44-year-old James Thiel, of Pleasant Valley, with involuntary manslaughter and reckless use of a watercraft among other charges in connection with an Aug. 16 fatal boat crash in LeClaire.(KWQC/Scott County Sheriff's Office)
Published: May. 4, 2021 at 2:32 PM CDT|Updated: May. 4, 2021 at 3:35 PM CDT
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LECLAIRE, Iowa (KWQC) - A Pleasant Valley man is facing charges in connection with a boat crash in August that left two people dead, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources said.

DNR said in a media release that James William Thiel, 44, turned himself in Tuesday morning on two counts of involuntary manslaughter, a Class D felony punishable by five years in prison, and two additional counts of involuntary manslaughter, an aggravated misdemeanor punishable by two years in prison,

He also was cited for reckless use of a watercraft and operation of an unregistered watercraft.

Scott County Court records show Thiel waived his right to a preliminary hearing and will be arraigned on May 27.

The crash that killed 52-year-old Anita Pinc and 61-year-old Craig Verbeke, both of Moline, happened around 7 p.m. Aug. 16 on the Mississippi River.

Verbeke died at the hospital following the crash and Pinc died at the scene of the crash. Both were on board a 1993 19-foot Bayliner when the crash occurred with a 2007 35-foot Triton owned by Thiel Truck Center Inc.

A Bettendorf resident, 36-year-old Brooke Jewell, was onboard the Triton boat and suffered minor injuries, and was taken to a local hospital following the crash.

Iowa DNR said last month that a juvenile was driving the Triton at the time of the crash.

According to arrest affidavits, Thiel unintentionally caused the deaths of Verbeke and Pinc by allowing his boat to be driven at a high rate of speed in an area of high boating traffic “thereby participating and aiding in the operation of a boat in a careless, reckless or negligent manner resulting in a collision with another boat.”

A man has turned himself to officials following a fatal boat accident that happened in August....
A man has turned himself to officials following a fatal boat accident that happened in August. The victims, Anita Pinc and Craig Verbeke, were avid travelers and were engaged to be married next July. (File)(kwqc)

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