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Article updated: 10/18/2013 6:35 PM

Fox Lake man pleads guilty to killing friend in alcohol-fueled crash

By Lee Filas

A Fox Lake man accused of killing a close friend during an alcohol-fueled crash pleaded guilty in Lake County court Friday to aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol that resulted in death.

Anthony Cechini, 24, of the 0-100 block of Northlake Drive, faces three to 14 years in prison when he is sentenced Dec. 5 for his role in the death of David Letchinger, 21, of McHenry during the Nippersink Road crash on Oct. 1, 2012.

But before he can be sentenced, Cechini needs to address aggravated battery and unlawful restraint charges filed against him after he was accussed of attacking an ex-girlfriend last month.

Lake County Judge Daniel Shanes told attorneys to return to court Nov. 8 with a plea deal in hand or be ready to go to trial Nov. 18 on those charges.

"My client is anxious to get this entire thing completely resolved," defense attorney Doug Zeit said. "He wants to do the right thing."

Authorities said Cechini was behind the wheel of his 2004 Subaru and heading west on Nippersink Road when the car lost control and hit a tree. Letchinger died in the crash and Cechini and another unidentified passenger were injured.

Defense attorney Jason Humke said during Friday's court hearing that the three men had been drinking at a bar called Blueberry Hill in Fox Lake. Cechini had a blood alcohol content of .189 percent when the crash occurred.

Cechini was indicted by a Lake County grand jury on five counts of aggravated DUI resulting in death, five counts of aggravated DUI that resulted in bodily harm, and one count of reckless homicide in connection with the crash. He posted 10 percent of his $500,000 bail and was released from jail, authorities said.

After being free on bail for 11 months and days away from a negotiated plea agreement, Cechini was arrested by Fox Lake police Sept. 6 for attacking his ex-girlfriend when she went to his residence to talk, authorities said.

Police said he slapped her in the face, choked her and "body slammed" her when she tried to leave.

After that arrest, Cechini's bail was increased to $1 million and he was remanded back to jail, where he has been for the last month.

Humke said after Friday's hearing that he will ask for a harsh sentence in order to deter this type of alcohol-related crash from taking place in the future.

"We intend to send a message to others that this is something that can happen when you make one set of bad choices," Humke said. "People should not do this. They should think two times or three times about calling a taxi before getting behind the wheel when they are intoxicated."

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