Funeral services are set for this weekend for a married couple, who were just weeks away from their 33rd anniversary, who died in a high-speed boat crash near McHenry.
The incident happened around 5:40 p.m. Saturday in the 600 block of Country Club Drive in unincorporated McHenry.
Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director of Communications Jayette Bolinski said witnesses reported an open motorboat was traveling “very fast” up and down the Fox River.
The boat was south of the Snuggery River Roadhouse in McHenry and was weaving and cutting back and forth across the water, Bolinski said.
The boat, operated by Timothy Mertins, 62, of McHenry, hit the shoreline and left the river at a high rate of speed.
Bolinski said it traveled approximately 73 feet from the shoreline before coming to rest on land.
The hull of the boat was separated into two pieces following the impact, Bolinski added.
The boat, which was occupied by two people, also struck a house after it ran aground. The home was not seriously damaged.
Bolinski said Julie Mertins, 61, of McHenry, who was the passenger, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Timothy Mertins was rushed by ambulance to McHenry High School East Campus where a LifeNet medical helicopter landed.
The helicopter flew the man to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville where he died from his injuries around 8:40 p.m. Saturday, Bolinski said, adding that the victims were husband and wife.
Nearby resident Conner Lively told Lake and McHenry County Scanner he heard an unusually loud bang at the time of the incident and ran to check it out.
Lively, along with his father and other bystanders on a pontoon boat, rushed to the scene to help the victims.
The bystanders found Timothy Mertins and Julie Mertins trapped in the wreckage.
The bystanders worked together to push the wreckage off the man but the woman was “entirely under the boat,” Lively said.
An obituary for the couple said Julie was “selfless and would set her own needs aside if it meant that she could spend time with someone else.”
“She never forgot the important milestones for the innumerable people she counted among her friends and family,” the obituary said.
The obituary said Timothy was “meticulous about his house, cars, and boat” and “loved to be outside in any capacity.”
“Tim and Julie were each one of six children and were extremely family-oriented as a result. They did everything together from yard work to grocery shopping. Tim and Julie loved to entertain and never needed a reason why. They enjoyed being regulars at different local establishments and had a particular appreciation for any and all live music. If Tim was the Captain, Julie was First Mate, and they loved getting out on the water every chance they had,” their family said in the obituary.
The couple would have celebrated 33 years of marriage on October 20.
A memorial visitation followed by a prayer service is scheduled for Sunday in Crystal Lake.