A 31-year-old Grant man died early Friday of injuries apparently suffered in a fight as Keith County authorities dealt with one of their roughest Fourth of July periods at Lake McConaughy since the 1990s.
Forty-two-year-old Timothy L. Walker of Brighton, Colorado, was arrested Friday and charged Monday with felony manslaughter of Justin Borowski.
Keith County Judge Edward Steenburg Monday ordered Walker to appear in court July 22 for a preliminary hearing. Walker was released from the Keith County Jail in Ogallala on 10 percent of $100,000 bail.
Walker and Borowski engaged in a physical altercation the night of July 4-5 at Walker’s home north of the lake, Nebraska State Patrol Investigator J. Van Stelton said in an arrest affidavit. Walker accused Borowski of stealing his prescription medication, he said.
Borowski’s parents, who were called by a witness to pick him up, took him to Perkins County Community Hospital in Grant. He was diagnosed there with a traumatic brain injury and airlifted to CHI Health Good Samaritan in Kearney, where he died, Van Stelton said.
A funeral Mass for Borowski will be at 10:30 a.m. MT Saturday at Our Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church in Grant, with burial to follow in Grant’s Fairview Cemetery.
Visitation will be from 1 to 5 p.m. MT Friday at Bullock-Long Funeral Home in Grant, which is in charge of arrangements. Rosary will be said at 7 p.m. at the church.
Borowski’s death took place in the midst of three hectic days for law enforcement and first responders at Lake McConaughy, which once again drew heavy crowds for the extended Independence Day holiday weekend.
Their calls included an on-the-beach resuscitation of a 6-year-old girl in a near-drowning on Thursday, another assault between two men at West Arthur Bay on Friday and two females — one 42, the other 16 months — run over by vehicles on Saturday, the Keith County News reported.
Ralph Moul, veteran Keystone-Lemoyne volunteer fire chief, bemoaned what he called a lack of “amenities” and law enforcement strength to handle Lake Mac’s massive crowds.
“Some of the people we came into contact with were belligerent and disrespectful,” Moul told the News, inviting Gov. Pete Ricketts and state senators to ride with law enforcement officers at the lake next Fourth of July.
“It’s time that the powers that be in Lincoln quit burying their heads in the sand on the problems we have out here,” the fire chief added.
Alcohol consumption has been officially banned in Nebraska Game and Parks Commission-run areas at McConaughy since 1995, a year after a 150-person, alcohol-fueled brawl broke out on Martin Bay during the Independence Day weekend.
Though the ban eased law enforcement’s holiday workloads for some years, Colorado’s legalization of recreational marijuana in 2014 has produced new problems. McConaughy traditionally draws many of its summer holiday visitors from Colorado.