KENTON COUNTY, Ky. (FOX19) - A Northern Kentucky man took a plea deal Tuesday in the case of a woman who died after falling out of a boat in May 2019.
Michael Bilokonsky initially told rescuers that multiple people were on board the boat and in the water at the time of the incident. It transpired that was a lie.
Whitney Crank, 31, was the only other person on board the boat with Bilokonsky when it hit another boat’s wake, a statement he made Tuesday to Kenton County Judge Ken Easterling via video conference
Bilokonskly gave his account of what allegedly happened that night, claiming he jumped into the water in an attempt to save Crank.
“I was on a boat, and my friend fell off of it, and I jumped in trying to save her life, and, umm, I was in total shock after, and I said some things that were not true."
“Why would you say there was another person on the boat when there wasn’t?” Easterling asked.
“I was in complete shock, sir," Bilokonsky replied.
The false claim prompted an additional 100 hours of search by water rescue teams, court documents show.
Crank’s body was not recovered for weeks after the incident.
Bilokonsky faced three charges in the case: reporting a false claim, operating a boat recklessly and obstruction.
Tuesday he pleaded guilty on the false reporting count.
He was sentenced to 90 days in jail with a conditional discharge, that is, to pay $3,565 of restitution to Kentucky Fish and Wildlife for the additional rescue efforts. He must also serve 100 hours of community service and not drive a boat for two years.
Bilokonsky has already paid the restitution in full and served the 100 hours of community service with Matthew 25 Ministries.
A civil case against him has been settled.