Lawyer from Naperville fined in death of baby swan
BY BILL BIRD firstname.lastname@example.org February 23, 2013 5:18PM
Updated: March 28, 2013 6:12AM
An attorney from Naperville has been ordered to pay a total of $700 in fines and restitution for piloting his power boat through a family of swans early last summer on a lake in Michigan and killing one of the cygnets.
A spokeswoman for the Van Buren County, Michigan, clerk’s office confirmed Clifford L. Gunter was ordered Friday to pay a $200 fine and make $500 restitution in connection with the incident on Lake Brownwood. The lake is located in Paw Paw Township in the southwestern part of the state.
Charges of wildlife conservation general violation and marine safety reckless operation were amended to a lesser, boating-related count, the spokeswoman said. She added she did not know what that charge entailed.
Officials of the Van Buren County prosecuting attorney’s office on Friday refused to comment on the settlement.
Gunter, 58, lives on Kenyon Drive, in the University Heights neighborhood. He is a former Paw Paw resident whose law practice is in Joliet.
Van Buren County deputy sheriffs filed a complaint against Gunter following the June 30 incident. A 911 caller early that evening reported a boat had run over and killed a swan on the lake, authorities said last year.
A deputy with the sheriff’s marine division found two witnesses to the incident. Both told the deputy they watched as a 21-foot-long, 1990 Sylvan pleasure boat was “running over a group of swans, killing one of them.”
One witness said the boat “came within 30 feet of dock, driving east into a family of swans, killing a baby, and kept going,” according to the deputy’s report.
The other witness said a “speed boat pulling a raft of children drove through a family of swans,” which consisted of “two adults and five babies.”
A sheriff’s office news release indicated Gunter was subsequently identified as the boat’s pilot, and that he admitted “that he did, in fact, run over the swan.”
Consumption of alcohol was “not a factor” in the case, the release stated.