Local

McHenry teen who died in crash 'will be missed by many,' mayor says

District 156 to offer support for grieving students

The McHenry teen who died in a Friday night crash has been identified as Danielle Thomas, a sophomore at McHenry High School – West Campus.

Mayor Wayne Jett and McHenry High School District 156 have issued statements after the fatal incident that also required four teens to be hospitalized. The two-vehicle crash happened in Wauconda.

“Please take a minute to pray for all who was involved in this terrible crash,” Jett said in a social media post. “There are so many people telling me that Danielle would light up the room with her smile, laughs and energy. You will be missed by so many. RIP Danielle Thomas.”

District 156 said in a statement to parents that the high school’s crisis team has developed a plan to support students in the aftermath.

“Because teenagers grieve in various ways, please talk to your children about how and what they are feeling,” district officials wrote in the email. “Be aware of any changes in mood or behavior. Even if your child didn’t know this student, it may still be very sad or emotional for your son or daughter.”

Counselors and social workers will be available to meet with students Monday, the statement said.

The Wauconda Fire District responded to the crash at 10:18 p.m. Friday at Route 12 and Case Road.

Emergency crews found two vehicles with heavy front-end damage and multiple victims in the northbound lanes of Route 12 just south of Case Road, according to a fire district news release.

A total of five people were found at the scene. 

A preliminary investigation revealed that a black Hyundai Elantra driven by Caleb R. Rohrbach, 18, of Cary had been traveling south on Route 12, according to a Wauconda Police Department news release. 

Shortly after passing Case Road, Rohrbach crossed the center median and entered the northbound lanes of Route 12.

A gray Ford Focus driven by Thomas was traveling north on Route 12 and approaching Case Road.

After Rohrbach crossed into the northbound lanes, his car crashed into the Ford in a head-on collision.

The Ford had two 14-year-old passengers and one 15-year-old female passenger, all McHenry residents.

Rohrbach was freed from his vehicle and taken to Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington.

Thomas was freed and also taken to Advocate Good Shepherd, where she later died.

One of the 14-year-old passengers and the 15-year-old passenger were taken to the same hospital. The other 14-year-old passenger was taken to Northwestern Medicine McHenry Hospital, where he or she was treated and released.

Authorities closed Route 12 from Bonner to Case roads in both directions while they conducted an investigation.

The collision remains under investigation. Charges are pending.

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