CHICAGO (CBS) — The Fox River is a popular spot for swimmers and boaters during the summertime, but the injury of a six-year-old boy, hit by a boat last weekend, has locals in the far northwest suburb re-examining when they take to the water.
CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports there were no charges filed at the park where the incident occurred because authorities determined the 19-year-old driver of the boat was moving slowly as he approached the bank. The incident is serving as a reminder of how dangerous the waters can be.
While the waters of the Fox River beckon on weekdays during the summer, weekends by the water are not so tranquil.
“There’s restaurants up and down the river,” said Bill Turnquest of Barrington.
“The weekends are like amateur night with all the boats,” said Diane Fritz of Fox Lake. “We just don’t come on the weekend.”
“Boats coming up and down the river, some flying by,” explains Grant Suppes of Barrington Hills.
Picnic Grove Park in Fox River Grove is a particular draw.
“The other side of the river is all private property. They have to come here,” explained Turnquest.
A slow-approaching boat accidentally struck a six-year-old swimming near the riverbank at Picnic Grove Park last Sunday. The child was rushed to the hospital, but is expected to recover.
There are no swimming buoys or barricades at the park and none are required by law. Fox River Grove Police say their jurisdiction ends at the water’s edge. Officials say motor craft launching is prohibited, but approaches from the water are allowed.
The waters fall under the jurisdiction of the McHenry County Sheriff’s Marine Unit.
“Most of the time you do see them patrolling,” said Fritz.
“It’s just safer to come on week days,” said Fritz.
Only two summertime accidents at the site over the past decade. Experienced boaters say they try to avoid problems by knowing their surroundings and knowing when to come.
There are signs at the park prohibiting ice access to the river in the winter for people trying to snowmobile or ice skate. A snowmobile accident occurred on the ice in the past.