A McHenry County prosecutor will be honored next month for his efforts to hold criminals accountable for driving drunk.
Assistant State's Attorney David Metnick has been nominated for the 2014 Heroes Award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Over the past year, Metnick has won convictions and prison sentences in several high-profile DUI cases, such as:
• A two-year sentence for Scott Hirschey, 50, of Crystal Lake, for aggravated DUI. Hirschey previously was sentenced to probation for killing his friend and passenger, Chicago TV news anchor Randy Salerno, in a 2008 snowmobile crash in Wisconsin.
• A conviction against Walter Depner, 62, formerly of McHenry County, who faces up to 10 years in prison for a 2013 DUI offense when sentenced Aug. 29. Depner killed four people in a 1999 DUI crash and served 12 years in prison before he was arrested on charges of driving under the influence in February 2013.
• A 5½-year prison term for Joshua Hachmeister, 34, of Wonder Lake, after a jury trial in May, and a 26-month prison term for Jason Bowling, 33, of Harvard, for riding a motorcycle while drunk while his 9-year-old son was a passenger.
McHenry County State's Attorney Lou Bianchi said Metnick is respected by fellow prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges.
"He's an aggressive, efficient, conscientious attorney," Bianchi said. "He's a real asset, not only to our office but to the community and state of Illinois."
The MADD banquet is Sept. 6 in Springfield.
Officer recovers phone, nets award: An Aurora police officer assigned to the department's Community Policing Unit has been named the June Employee of the Month for his efforts to solve the robbery of a 16-year-old boy who had his cellphone, wallet and other items taken from him by two teens outside a west side elementary school.
"In this instance, Officer (Ted) Grommes demonstrated one of the most important keys in community policing: knowing his assigned area including the people living there," Police Chief Greg Thomas said.
During the investigation, a sergeant learned the first name of one of the suspects, and consulted Grommes.
Grommes, who began his career in Aurora in September 2003, knew the suspect from previous contacts and also identified the second suspect.
He got the mother of the second suspect to sign a search waiver for her apartment, but the search rendered nothing. So he went through the apartment building's garbage Dumpster, looking through every bag of trash. The extra effort turned up the victim's items and other evidence that tied them to the crime, police said.
Grommes then retraced the footsteps he believed the suspects had taken back to their residences and found the victim's wallet that had been thrown away. Both suspects later confessed and the Kane County state's attorney's office charged them with felonies.