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Thiel sentenced and will serve 90 days for Iowa boat fatalities

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James Thiel Sr. looks at his attorney, Leon Spies, who is talking to family members after the reading of the verdict April 25 in Scott County Court. Thiel was found guilty in a fatal boat crash in LeClaire. On Wednesday, Thiel was sentenced to 365 days in the Scott County Jail on four counts of involuntary manslaughter, to be served concurrently. All but 90 days are suspended, and Thiel will get credit for time served.

James Thiel Sr. will serve fewer than 90 days in jail in relation to the fatal 2020 boat crash on the Mississippi River near LeClaire.

He received 365 days, concurrent, on each count, with credit for time served. All but 90 days are suspended, and Thiel will get credit for time served. 

The crash was on Aug. 16, 2020, and involved Thiel’s 35-foot Triton and a 19-foot boat operated by Craig Verbeke, 61, of Moline, who was killed. His fiance, Anita Pinc, 52, of Moline, was also killed.

A minor, not Thiel, was operating the Triton, but Thiel was accused of unintentionally contributing to the fatalities by allowing the boat to be operated at a high rate of speed in a high-traffic area, resulting in a collision with another boat, according to authorities.

Thiel faced four counts of involuntary manslaughter at his April trial, two felonies and two misdemeanors. The jury found Thiel guilty on the two misdemeanor counts. Each of those misdemeanor counts carries a sentence of up to two years.

District Court Judge Patrick McElyea sentenced Thiel, 46, Pleasant Valley, during an afternoon court hearing.

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The boys were transported to Lakes Regional Healthcare in Spirit Lake, where the 15-year-old was pronounced dead. The 14-year-old was treated and released.

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