A fisherman who lost control of his boat on a lake in Voyageurs National Park and fatally pitched his passenger overboard admitted drinking up to six beers that day, according to a criminal complaint.
Stanislaw Kozaczka, 55 of Harwood Heights, Ill., was charged in St. Louis County District Court last week with criminal vehicular homicide in connection with the death on Sept. 20 of Wlodzimierz Dziechciowski, 66, of Chicago.
Kozaczka remains free on bail ahead of an Oct. 19 court appearance. A message was left with his attorney seeking reaction to the allegations.
During a meeting at the Park Point Resort soon after the incident, Kozaczka told a sheriff’s deputy that he had four to six 12-ounce beers throughout the day, the criminal complaint read. A preliminary breath test at the scene measured his blood alcohol content at 0.105 percent, above the legal limit of 0.08 percent for driving in Minnesota.
According to the complaint:
Kozaczka said he and Dziechciowski had been fishing that morning and again in the afternoon, when they started back for the resort. He said Dziechciowski was sitting on a tackle box at the front of the boat.
While turning toward shore, Kozaczka recalled, the boat crossed over another boat’s wake. The impact sent Dziechciowski into the water.
Kozaczka said a passerby helped him get Dziechciowski back in the boat, and they started resuscitation efforts until emergency responders arrived.
Dziechciowski leaves behind a wife, two children and three grandchildren. His funeral was scheduled for Wednesday in suburban Chicago.