ALGONQUIN – Three months have passed since a man and two teen boys chased a Carpentersville man to the edge of the Fox River after he skipped out on a $68 bar tab, but Algonquin police continue to probe the circumstances of his drowning death.
Police continue to investigate “portions of this case,” Algonquin Deputy Police Chief Ryan Markham said Friday afternoon. He declined to elaborate on what aspects of the case still were being looked at, citing the ongoing investigation.
Ernest Prentic, 29, of Carpentersville jumped into the Fox River and drowned after a confrontation with the man and teen boys who followed him, according to police reports and video surveillance obtained by the Northwest Herald. The Kane County Coroner’s Office recently granted the Northwest Herald’s Freedom of Information Act request for Prentic’s toxicology results. The results provide more details on the events leading up to Prentic’s death June 1.
The toxicology reports show that Prentic had seven different elements of medications commonly prescribed for the treatment of depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia in his system before his death.
Prentic recently had stopped taking his medication and had ordered a dozen drinks at Nero’s Pizza and Pub in less than two hours on the night of June 1, police reports show.
Prentic’s girlfriend told police he had started drinking before he went to Nero’s, according to police reports. When she reached their Carpentersville home on June 1, she told him to “sleep it off,” but he left the home. She said that was the last time she heard from him. The woman suggested Prentic most likely hitched a ride to Nero’s, 300 Eastgate Drive, Algonquin. She also told police that Prentic recently had stopped taking all medication he was prescribed. She said he had bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
The results from the toxicology report showed Prentic’s blood-alcohol concentration was 0.170 percent. The legal limit for driving in Illinois is 0.08 percent. Prentic’s level was more than double that limit.
A person with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.15 can experience an impaired ability to process information, a major loss of balance and far less muscle control than normal, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To compound the effects of the alcohol, Prentic’s toxicology report showed he had olanzapine and desmethylclomipramine in his system at the time of his death.
Olanzapine is prescribed for the treatment of psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia and bipolar mania. Desmethylclomipramine can be prescribed as an antidepressant, according to the report. Prentic had various other antidepressant medications in his system, as well, but the amounts of olanzapine and desmethylclomipramine in his blood were above a typical range, the report showed.
Drinking alcohol while on such medications can make a person feel more depressed or anxious, affect judgment and cause drowsiness, Mayo Clinic psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Hall-Flavin said on the clinic’s website.
A Nero’s employee told police that Prentic seemed “intoxicated but not drunk” earlier in the night, then said that later he sat down and “it all hit him.” Another employee told police that he appeared to be “nodding off” at the bar.
Earlier in the night, Prentic came up to another customer and said he had just been promoted at work. Prentic then showed the customer “a large amount of cash.” The customer also said that Prentic bought several rounds of shots for other people at Nero’s, the customer told police.
Prentic owed $68 for two Jägermeister shots, five shots of Jameson Irish Whiskey and five Jäger bombs, according to his receipt. Jäger bombs are made of Red Bull and Jägermeister.
Several employees told police that Prentic also ordered two “mini pitchers” of beer for himself, but only drank one. They also said Prentic shared the shots with other customers. They estimated that Prentic had about four shots himself, but they didn’t know exactly how much he had to drink.
In Algonquin, it is against village code for a business with a license to sell alcohol to a person who is visibly intoxicated.
“No licensee, associate, member, representative or agent or employee of the licensee shall sell, give or deliver alcoholic liquor either to any intoxicated person,” the code states.
Violations are punishable by fine, suspension or even revocation of a business’s liquor license, according to the code.
“A business has never had an issue with their license as a result of a problem from overserving that has come in front of me,” Algonquin Village President and Liquor Commissioner John Schmitt said Aug. 25.
Markham said the police department has its own liquor compliance commission that partners with both the village and state government to ensure businesses comply.
“It’s a multifaceted approach,” Markham said.
At 9:09 p.m., witnesses told police that Prentic stood up with a beer in his hand and tried to walk out the entrance. Several customers took the beer from him, and he left the building headed west. Prentic walked out of the building at 9:11 p.m. Surveillance footage showed him zigzagging while leaving.
Some of the customers, who were at Nero’s with a group of friends and relatives, tried to stop Prentic near the building, according to reports.
“When [the patron] was running behind the subject on the sidewalk, [Prentic] seemed extremely intoxicated, and [the patron] was afraid he was going to fall into the roadway,” a witness statement said.
Prentic reportedly lightly pushed one of the teens following him and called the teen a racial slur before jumping into the river behind 26 N. River Road.
“The teens confronted him, told him to pay his tab,” Markham previously said. “He refused and jumped in the river.”
In general, it is unsafe to try a citizen’s arrest, Markham told the Northwest Herald in late July.
“In this case it was dangerous because it led to the suspect jumping in the river, but it can also be dangerous to the people following,” Markham said. “They never know who they’re dealing with. For safety’s sake, it’s always better to be a good witness instead of getting involved.”
The owner of Nero’s did not return calls seeking comment on the incident or what, if anything, the business might have done differently.