Crime & Courts

Johnsburg man pleads guilty in fatal DUI crash

Christian M. Heaney, 47, of the 3700 block of Windmere Lane, Johnsburg.
Christian M. Heaney, 47, of the 3700 block of Windmere Lane, Johnsburg.

A 47-year-old man pleaded guilty Wednesday to a felony charge of aggravated driving under the influence stemming from a 2016 crash that killed a Richmond motorcyclist.

A McHenry County judge is expected to sentence Christian M. Heaney on Feb. 21 in connection with the death of 26-year-old Steven Thomas.

Richmond police originally arrested Heaney, of the 3700 block of Windmere Lane in Johnsburg, on Aug. 10, 2016, and charged him with aggravated driving under the influence. He was released from jail after posting bond.

Emergency crews responded Aug. 10 to Route 12 near the Depot Restaurant for the report of a crash involving a motorcycle and an SUV. Heaney was driving a Range Rover south near where Route 12 turns into Route 31 at Tryon Grove Road.

Heaney was trying to make a left turn when he struck the left side of Thomas’ motorcycle, according to a wrongful death lawsuit Thomas’ mother, Becky Thomas, filed against Heaney in 2017.

Flight for Life took Thomas to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, where he was pronounced dead about 4 p.m. the following day.

Prosecutors upgraded the charges after Thomas’ death. Heaney now faces three to 14 years in prison.

Officers obtained a warrant to draw Heaney’s blood to determine how much, if any, alcohol was in his system. His exact blood-alcohol level wasn’t disclosed in court documents, but it’s alleged to have been more than three times the legal limit, according to the wrongful death complaint.

Becky Thomas is seeking more than $50,000 in money damages in connection with the crash and her son’s subsequent death. The lawsuit will pick back up in McHenry County court Thursday.

Thomas’ family could not be reached for comment.

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