WOODSTOCK – The estate of the late Sylvia Krawiec was awarded $1.275 million Thursday after after a four-day trial in McHenry County Circuit Court.
Sylvia Krawiec, 25, was killed Oct. 10, 2007, in a car accident on Route 31 near Centegra Hospital – McHenry. Krawiec was headed north to work when her vehicle was struck head-on by a truck driven by Lucinda Slensby, then 67, of Crystal Lake.
Prosecutors in May 2010 dismissed reckless homicide charges against Slensby, who is believed to have fallen asleep at the wheel and caused the fatal accident.
Slensby pleaded guilty to two traffic charges – improper lane use and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident – and was sentenced to a year of conditional discharge and a $1,000 fine.
During a four-day trial this week to determine damages, a jury heard testimony from Krawiec’s family and friends and were asked to consider each family member’s loss, grief, sorrow and mental suffering, a news release from the family’s attorney said.
The jury deliberated for two and a half hours before deciding to award more than a million dollars to Krawiec’s estate.
Krawiec, of Cary, is survived by her parents, Walter and Marolia, and her younger sister, Angie Krawiec, according to the release from Krawiec’s attorney.
“The verdict demonstrates the substantial loss the Krawiec family suffered when they lost Sylvia,” the release said. “Sylvia was a wonderful young woman, just months away from completing her nursing degree.”
During the criminal proceedings, prosecutors said they were unable to prove that Slensby, who does not remember the accident, acted recklessly.
Experts indicated that the pattern of drifting into the on-coming lane without any jerking movement or changes in speed was consistent with a driver falling asleep at the wheel.
However, evidence did not show that Slensby suffered from a medical condition that caused her to fall asleep unexpectedly, nor was she taking medication that would have impaired her driving, prosecutors said.
The Krawiec family could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.
In a prepared statement read in May 2010, Sylvia Krawiec’s father described her as a strong young woman who survived two kidney transplants and worked full time at Centegra Hospital – McHenry while attending nursing school.
At the time of the accident, her boyfriend, Nick, had been saving for an engagement ring he had selected, Walter Krawiec said.