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updated: 7/27/2011 6:11 PM

Man pleads not guilty to charges in fatal crash

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A man from downstate Collum, IL pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges he was under the influence of marijuana when his speeding car slammed into and killed a Lake Barrington woman.

Thomas Murphy, 40, faces up to 14 years in prison if convicted of aggravated driving under the influence of drugs and reckless homicide.

Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Suzanne Willett said Katherine Walker-Hoffman, 56, was getting into her car at a car wash at Route 12 and Honey Lake Road in Lake Zurich about 3 p.m. on March 24.

Willett said Murphy drove his 2004 Jeep Cherokee from Route 12 into the car wash lot and struck Walker-Hoffman as she was opening the door to her car.

An investigation by the Lake County Major Crash Assistance Team found that Murphy's vehicle was going 67 mph when it struck Walker-Hoffman, Willett said.

Blood tests revealed Murphy was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the crash and police found an ounce of marijuana in his vehicle, Willett said.

Murphy was arrested May 12 and posted $50,000 in cash to be released from jail.

Associate Judge Theodore Potkonjak scheduled a trial of the case for Sept. 26 and ordered Murphy to appear in court again Sept. 6.