Crime & Courts

Spring Grove woman who reported carbon monoxide poisoning while high on crack gets 18 days in jail

WOODSTOCK – A Spring Grove woman accused of calling 911 to report a possible carbon monoxide leak while high on crack cocaine was ordered to spend 18 days in jail.

McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrandt sentenced Renee A. Hermes, 54, to 2½ years of probation in addition to jail time Wednesday.

The judge found her guilty of possession of more than 8.8 ounces of cocaine after a bench trial in August. Hermes was acquitted of the more serious charge of possession of cocaine with the intent to deliver at trial, according to court records and her attorney, Phil Prossnitz.

She could have faced more than a decade in prison.

Hermes was charged in April 2014 after she called 911 to report possible carbon monoxide poisoning. She later admitted to being high at the time of the call, prosecutors said. Authorities saw cocaine on a table when they arrived at the home to check for carbon monoxide. Later, investigators found more cocaine in a safe in the basement, Spring Grove Chief of Police Thomas Sanders said. He said police found a total of 14.7 ounces of cocaine.

She was taken to the hospital for symptoms of a cocaine overdose at the time. She spent about five hours at the hospital before being released, Prossnitz said. At trial, she said she had been on a four-day binge.

Prossnitz said the sentence was fair. He said his client has been going to substance abuse recovery meetings. If she abides by the terms of her probation – which includes getting a drug addiction evaluation and complying with the recommendations of that evaluation – she’ll avoid additional jail time. If she fails to follow the terms, she could face up to 140 days in jail, according to court records.

Her husband, 59-year-old William K. Hermes, was convicted of possession of cocaine in relation to the same incident. He was sentenced in November 2016 to nine years in prison, according to court records. He testified that the cocaine in the safe was his. However, prosecutors pointed out inconsistencies in the couple’s testimony, Prossnitz said.

Renee Hermes will have to pay fines and court and perform 40 hours of community service, according to court documents.

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