Libertyville woman gets six years in fatal crash
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At some points in her life, Dana Hoffman was a passionate environmentalist, a caring friend and a loving family member.
At others, she was an irresponsible drug addict concerned with no one or no thing other than her next fix.
It was the second Dana Hoffman who was driving the van on that crossed the centerline on July 9, 2009, and smashed into the motorcycle carrying Michael Adcock, 49, of McHenry.
Hoffman was sentenced to six years in prison Tuesday by a Lake County judge who said she saw tragedy all around in the case, but also saw the criminal act.
"It is the drugs that led you to this tragic accident, the drugs that provided the sad road map to this courtroom," Chief Circuit Judge Victoria Rossetti said in announcing the sentence.
"But it is because you made the decision to get behind the wheel of a car while under the influence of heroin that you are here and Michael Adcock is dead.
Hoffman, 26, of the 1400 block of Vineyard Lane in Libertyville, pleaded guilty to aggravated driving under the influence in Adcock's death April 12 and faced up to 14 years in prison. The accident happened on Cage Road in Wauconda Township. Authorities said Hoffman had heroin and the anti-anxiety drug Xanax in her system at the time of the crash.
Her attorney, Assistant Public Defender Thomas Meyers, asked Rossetti to sentence Hoffman to probation, local jail time and public service in order to allow her to get the treatment she needs to defeat an addiction she has battled since adolescence.
Meyers said during the sober times of her life, Hoffman was a model citizen who traveled to Alaska to do environmental work and desired to change the world.
But the drugs never let Hoffman completely free, Meyers said, and continued to drag her down.
"Dana is clearly two people; obviously an addict but also a person," Meyers said. "This awful accident is the worst accident that could happen, but she never meant to hurt anyone."
Assistant State's Attorney Victor O'Block asked Rossetti for a sentence near the maximum because it was an accident Hoffman could have prevented.
He said Hoffman ignored the warnings to her in the overdose deaths of her uncle and two friends as she continued to use drugs.
"The message to this defendant could not have been more clear," O'Block said. "Drugs equal death."
Hoffman said she had dedicated her life to defeating addiction and intended to help others understand the importance of making better choices than she did.
She cried throughout her prepared statement to the court, in which she addressed each member of Adcock's family individually.
"I know that my words will never give you back the person I took from you," she said. "I know there is nothing I can do to patch the hole in your hearts."
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