CRYSTAL LAKE – A Hoffman Estates man was charged with aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol for an early Sunday crash that left an Algonquin man with severe neck and spinal injuries and potential paralysis.
Ruben Zendejas, 24, of the 1900 block of Governors Lane in Hoffman Estates, was charged Sunday with a Class 4 felony for aggravated driving under the influence and four misdemeanors for driving under the influence of alcohol, failure to reduce speed to avoid a crash, disregarding a traffic light and failure to carry driver's license.
According to a Crystal Lake Police Department release, emergency crews responded to the intersection of Illinois Route 176 and Oak Street in Crystal Lake at 2:17 a.m. to find two vehicles involved in a crash.
Zendejas, driving a 1996 Chevrolet Trailblazer, had been traveling north on Oak Street and failed to stop for a red light. The second vehicle — a 2000 Saab — was traveling west on Route 176 and upon entering the intersection collided with the Trailblazer.
The Saab, driven by 26-year-old Clarissa Hamstra of Crystal Lake, then struck a traffic light pole and a utility pole on the northwest corner of the intersection. Hamstra's passenger, 22-year-old Brandon Ferreira of Algonquin, was in the back seat of the vehicle and suffered serious injuries, according to Crystal Lake police. Ferreira was extricated from the vehicle and transported to Centegra Hospital-McHenry where he continues to be treated.
Zendejas sustained minor injuries and was transported to Centegra Hospital-Woodstock where he was treated and released.
Dale Finucane, Ferreira's stepfather, said Ferreira was transported to Northwestern Hospital in Chicago early Sunday where he underwent surgery to repair a broken and dislocated neck. Finucane said his stepson has movement in his arms but cannot grip his hands and has no movement below his chest.
"We're holding out for a miracle," Finucane said, adding doctors were not optimistic about Ferreira's chances to walk. Finucane said there was no brain damage sustained. He also said he has been in contact with the McHenry County State's Attorney Office, which could add more charges.
Zendejas posted the necessary $5,000 of his $50,000 bond and was released from McHenry County Jail on Monday. The incident remains under investigation by Crystal Lake police.