Pleasant Valley man pleads not guilty in connection with fatal boat crash

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Craig Verbeke (left), 61, and Anita Pinc, 52, were killed in a boating crash on the Mississippi River on August 16, 2020. James Thiel, 44, of Pleasant Valley, turned himself into police on May 4, 2021, after being charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter and other charges in relation to the boat crash.

A 44-year-old Pleasant Valley man charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with a fatal boating crash has pleaded not guilty.

Thiel, represented by attorney Leon F. Spies, Iowa City, filed a written arraignment and plea of not guilty in court documents filed Thursday in Scott County Court.

Thiel is accused of unintentionally causing the deaths of Craig Verbeke and Dr. Anita Pinc on Aug. 16, 2020 “by participating and aiding in the operation of a boat in a careless, reckless or negligent manner resulting in a collision with another boat,” court documents say.

The crash killed Pinc, 52, and Verbeke, 61, both of Moline, who were on a 19-foot Bayliner.

Verbeke died at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Pinc died on the scene.

Pinc was a physician with The Group, which released a statement earlier that reads in part: “The Group Obstetrics & Gynecology Specialists, P.C. and Revive at The Group Medical Spa family are mourning over the tragic death of Anita L. Pinc, D.O. Dr. Anita Pinc was killed in a boating accident August 16, 2020 in LeClaire, IA. Her death is a loss to the entire Group family and to the many patients who benefited from her skills.”

A pretrial conference for Thiel is scheduled for Aug. 27, and a jury trial is tentatively set for Sept. 6 in Scott County Court.

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