Crime & Courts

No alcohol involved in fatal McHenry Home Depot crash, police reports confirm

Police investigate a fatal March 31 crash the parking lot of McHenry's Home Depot .
Police investigate a fatal March 31 crash the parking lot of McHenry's Home Depot .

The 19-year-old driver who struck and killed a 71-year-old pedestrian in the McHenry Home Depot parking lot did not have any alcohol in his system, police reports show.

The crash happened March 31 in the home improvement store’s parking lot. An investigation determined that William Dammeyer was struck by a pickup truck near the entrance of the store. The driver, Christian J. Zientko of McHenry, was cited for failing to stop at a stop sign.

Zientko’s father advised his son not to submit a blood sample for drug and alcohol testing, according to the police report. The teen did, however, submit to a breath test, which showed he had not consumed any alcohol.

After the crash, Zientko was visibly concerned for Dammeyer, McHenry police officer Paul Prather wrote in his report.

“Christian’s demeanor during the conversation with Sgt. Cox was one of remorse and he voiced several times that he was concerned for the well being of the pedestrian,” Prather wrote.

Dammeyer died April 1 at Advocate Condell Medical Center. The 71-year-old had led an otherwise safe and healthy life, his wife Paula Dammeyer said.

“He was just a great guy. He had no enemies,” Paula Dammeyer said. “Never been sick, never had cancer, didn’t wear glasses – and he gets hit by a truck.”

McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Theresa Kaman reviewed the case April 1 and determined that no enhanced charges would be filed.

Zientko had previous traffic citations on his record, too. The teen was cited in February for making an improper left turn, and in November he was convicted of illegal stopping.

“I don’t want to see this kid go to prison or anything like that, that would be ridiculous,” Paula Dammeyer said. “I think he should lose his license for a while so [he] can sit and think.”

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