Pleasant Valley suspect charged in fatal 2020 boat crash

Local News

Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officers have charged James Thiel, 44, of Pleasant Valley, with involuntary manslaughter and reckless use of a watercraft among other charges in connection with an Aug. 6, 2020, fatal boat crash on the Mississippi River.

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

Thiel turned himself in Tuesday morning, a news release says..

Thiel faces charges of involuntary manslaughter, a Class D felony, two counts of Involuntary manslaughter, an aggravated misdemeanor, one count of reckless use of a watercraft and one count of operation of an unregistered watercraft.

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.”

In an arrest affidavit, law enforcement officers say Thiel allowed 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.”

Thiel has waived a preliminary hearing and is scheduled to appear for arraignment May 27 in Scott County Court, court records say.

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