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Ordinances appearing in several McHenry County municipalities might change the way driving under the influence charges are negotiated in court.

Some DUI cases have a lack of evidence, leaving prosecutors wary of failing to get convictions at trial. Like most criminal cases, most DUI cases are resolved via pleas, and defendants and defense attorneys are hesitant to plead guilty to driving under the influence when the case is weak because of long-term consequences.

Prosecutors and defendants often settle on a reckless driving conviction during those negotiations, but that disposition is going out of vogue. A new “careless driving" violation carries lesser consequences than the Class B misdemeanor reckless driving charge, often reached during plea agreements for DUI cases. The violation has been added in at least four McHenry County municipalities and is up for a vote in at least four others.

LAKEWOOD – Two people were transported to the hospital Monday morning after a multi-car crash at the intersection of Routes 47 and 176, according to the Lakewood Police Department.

Authorities were called to that area at around 6:30 a.m. for a report of a two-vehicle accident with minor injuries.

A vehicle traveling north on Route 47 collided with a car attempting to make a left turn onto southbound Route 47 from west Route 176, police said. The driver and passenger of the northbound vehicle, a man and woman, were later transported to Centegra Hospital - Woodstock with injuries not considered life threatening.

The driver of the other vehicle, William C. Thomfohrda, 67, of Marengo, was cited for improper turn at an intersection.

Traffic was diverted away from the intersection for more than a half hour while police investigated.

**Available for a limited time at http://www.nwherald.com/2013/02/25/2-taken-to-hospital-after-lakewood-crash/a5i2jy8/.

WOODSTOCK – An elderly Woodstock woman died Saturday after a two-car collision on Route 14, according to the Woodstock Police Department.

Patricia T. Arvidson, 83, died at Centegra Hospital – Woodstock from injuries she sustained when her vehicle struck a truck at the intersection of Route 14 and Rose Farm Road, according to a news release.

Both drivers were attempting to make left-hand turns onto Rose Farm Road from Route 14 in opposite directions when they collided, the release states. The drivers were wearing their seatbelts.

The driver of the truck and a passenger were not injured.

The investigation is ongoing.

** Available for a limited time at http://www.nwherald.com/2013/02/25/woman-dies-after-two-car-crash-in-woodstock/aikifxx/.

Residents are being urged to avoid the roadways this afternoon as heavy snowfall continues to blanket McHenry County, and for those who have to drive, leave plenty of extra time for the commute home.

Several accidents were being reported throughout the county, according to the McHenry County Sheriff's Office. That has forced municipalities, including Crystal Lake, Algonquin, Lakewood and Cary, among others, to begin following their emergency snow plans. "When you get snow like this, it is hard for anybody to keep up," said Ed Markison, assistant maintenance supervisor for the county's Division of Transportation. "We're doing the best we can."

A crew of 14 trucks were plowing county roads as of 2:15 p.m., and a second shift is scheduled to overlap starting at 3:30 p.m. Those workers will plow throughout the evening commute. The Illinois State Police has also initiated its emergency snow plan — if all cars involved in an accident on the expressways are driveable, exchange information and report crash later.

CRYSTAL LAKE – Police are looking into “suspicious circumstances" surrounding a Sunday morning fire and death of a Crystal Lake man, who died of smoke inhalation.

The man, identified by the McHenry County Coroner's Office as 49-year-old Dunn Mizell, died Sunday after a fire in the basement of his 1709 Moorland Lane home.

The coroner's office said in a news release Mizell died of smoke inhalation. Mizell's carbon monoxide level was elevated, and toxicology results are pending, the coroner's office added. Police tape cordoned off the two-story home Sunday as investigators tried to piece together the events that surrounded the man's death.

“There are many pieces to the puzzle to determine the cause of death or circumstances leading up to it," Crystal Lake Police Cmdr. Dan Dziewior said. Authorities said a McHenry County Sheriff's Office deputy had driven Mizell's wife home Sunday morning, but the woman could not enter the house because the garage door was disengaged and appliances had been turned over and were blocking a side door.

Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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