5 Lake County inmates charged in McHenry County jail fight

Five Lake County inmates housed in the McHenry County jail are facing charges in connection with a jail fight that left three other inmates injured.

Felix E. Guadarrama, 30, of Waukegan; Javier Franco, 27, of Wheeling; and Gabriel J. Rivera, 27, of Zion, were each charged with aggravated battery and mob action.

Yahir A. Torrecilla, 18, and Eduardo Garcia, 43, both of Waukegan, were charged with aggravated battery, according to the criminal complaints.

Three other inmates from the Lake County jail were involved in the alleged fight and named in the complaints but not charged as they were the victims, said Emily Matusek-Baker, communications specialist for the McHenry County sheriff’s office.

Rivera is accused of starting the fight, which took place about 10 a.m. on Jan. 14, by punching one of the inmates, according to the complaints. All of the men are accused of punching, striking and kicking the other inmates.

Torrecilla and Rivera remain in the McHenry County jail, and the other three charged have been returned to Lake County, Matusek-Baker said.

This is the first time such an incident has occurred involving Lake County inmates, she said.

“This has proven to be a good working relationship with Lake County,” Matusek-Baker said. “The behavior of Lake County inmates has been consistent with that of McHenry County inmates.”

McHenry County jail has been housing Lake County inmates since January after a one-year agreement was penned. The agreement is to house up to 150 inmates, and the county is paid $100 per inmate per day, according to McHenry County sheriff’s office.

The agreement has an option of a one-year extension, the sheriff’s office said. It was made between the counties as a way of helping Lake County, which had been struggling with low staffing, Lake County Sheriff Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli said in November. The number of correctional officers was down almost 40%, with more than 70 positions unfilled, he said.

On Monday, Covelli said he is aware of the alleged jail fight, but McHenry County is handling the charges.

He said, so far, the arrangement “has gone very well. ... It has allowed us to drastically reduce the amount of forced overtime at the Lake County jail.” He added that while the office has hired more correctional officers, an equal number have retired.

“We are currently in contract negotiations with our correctional officer union,” he said. “We are hopeful to reach an agreement with their collective bargaining unit, which will bolster our recruitment efforts.

The McHenry County jail has housed about 150 Lake County inmates since the contract took effect.

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