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Man charged with involuntary manslaughter in Mississippi boat crash deaths

Officials are investigating a boating accident on the Mississippi River in LeClaire Sunday...
Officials are investigating a boating accident on the Mississippi River in LeClaire Sunday night. (KWQC)(KWQC)
Published: May. 4, 2021 at 2:49 PM CDT|Updated: May. 4, 2021 at 3:10 PM CDT
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LE CLAIRE, Iowa (KCRG) - A man turned himself in on charges related to the death of two boaters on the Mississippi River last August, officials said on Tuesday.

James Thiel, 44, of Pleasant Valley, was charged with two counts of felony involuntary manslaughter, two counts of aggravated misdemeanor involuntary manslaughter, one count of reckless use of a watercraft, and one count of operation of an unregistered watercraft.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Scott County District Court, Thiel’s boat was traveling at a “high rate of speed in an area of high boating traffic” in the Mississippi River near LeClaire, leading to a collision with a boat that was carrying Anita Pinc, 52, and Craig Verbeke, 61, both of Moline. Pinc and Verbeke both died of their injuries in the crash.

Department of Natural Resources officials alleged that Thiel’s “careless, reckless, or negligent” operation of the boat led to the crash and resulting deaths.

Thiel’s initial appearance in court is scheduled for May 27.

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