Mundelein man goes on trial for crash that killed Round Lake Beach woman

A Mundelein man deserves to be found guilty of murder because he intentionally caused a fatal crash while high on synthetic cannabis and a psychedelic drug the night of Thanksgiving 2012, a prosecutor told a Lake County jury during opening statements Tuesday.

However, the defense attorney for Mark Oelerich said Oelerich had been suffering from “delusions” and “paranoia” for months before causing the crash that killed Araceli Villasenor, 25, of Round Lake Beach, and injuring her three children.

“This is not a first-degree murder case,” defense attorney Elliot Pinsel said. He added that prosecutors will not be able to prove Oelerich possessed “intent” to murder Villasenor before the Cedar Lake Road crash on Nov. 21 in Round Lake.

Oelerich, 23, faces up to 60 years in prison if found guilty of murder and three counts of aggravated driving under the influence of drugs resulting in death for the crash. He remains in Lake County jail on $1 million bail.

Pinsel told the jury the facts of the case are not in dispute: Oelerich intentionally swerved a family member's Cadillac SUV across the centerline just after 9 p.m. and slammed head on into Villasenor's Nissan Quest at speeds greater than 65 mph.

The victims were taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, where Villasenor was pronounced dead, authorities said. The children were treated and released.

The reason why Oelerich drove the vehicle into oncoming traffic is where the two sides differ.

Assistant State's Attorney Michael Ori said Oelerich admitted to police he was high on dimethyltryptamine — also known as DMT — and synthetic cannabis known as K2 at the time of the crash.

“This was no accident,” Ori said. “This defendant turned his car directly into the path of the victim.”

Oelerich walked away from the crash, then wrestled with seven police officers before being subdued and taken into custody, Ori said.

Oelerich did get high on marijuana hours before the crash, Pinsel said, but his mental health started to break down in March 2012.

Pinsel cited several examples of Oelerich's declining mental health: he asked for a gun in case the “government declared a state of martial law”; Oelerich would “unplug his Xbox so the government could not discover where he was”; and he quit brushing his teeth because he thought “the government put fluoride in the water to poison people.”

After the crash, Oelerich walked away from the accident without shoes, then told police he was “walking to Italy,” Pinsel said.

Pinsel also said the jury will see a “very disturbing video” of Oelerich from the police station hours after the accident where he repeatedly punched the wall with his fists wrapped in his own socks or a bedsheet.

After punching the wall, Oelerich took off all his clothes to speak with police about the crash because “God told him to do it,” Pinsel added.

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