A Crystal Lake woman who at one time faced reckless homicide charges from a 2007 crash that killed a Cary woman pleaded guilty instead Friday to a pair of traffic offenses after county prosecutors dismissed felony allegations she drove knowing she was too drowsy to get behind a wheel.
Lucinda Slensby, 69, of the 400 block of Rockland Road, was fined $1,000 after admitting guilt to failure reduce speed to avoid a collision and improper lane usage in connection with the Oct. 10, 2007 collision on Route 31, near Gracy Road in Nunda Township.
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"Our mantra is to do justice, and that's what prompted our decision on this case," McHenry County State's Attorney Louis Bianchi said. "We had difficulty proving the charge."
Authorities believe Slensby fell asleep while driving her pickup truck south on Route 31 and veered into oncoming traffic, causing a head-on collision with a Honda Civic driven by Sylvia Krawiec. The 25-year-old Cary woman was pronounced dead on the scene.
A McHenry County grand jury indicted her in 2008 on two counts of reckless homicide. One alleged that she had ingested alcohol and prescription drugs, "disregarded ample clues that she was too drowsy" to drive then either fell asleep or suffered a blackout behind the wheel. The second count alleged that she suffers from sleep apnea, which made her too drowsy to drive at the time of the crash.
Prosecutors said Friday, however, testing showed Slensby's blood-alcohol level was .01 - far below the legal limit of .08 - and expert witnesses indicated the medication she was taking would not have affected her driving.
Another expert told authorities that Slensby had no medical history of falling asleep abruptly.
"We not saying she didn't do anything wrong," said Philip Hiscock, criminal division chief for the McHenry County State's Attorney. "Clearly she was at fault, which is why she pleaded guilty to the traffic offenses. But it did not rise to the level of recklessness."
Slensby attorney Stephen Haugh said his client does not recall the crash.
"No one will ever know what occurred," he said. "We only know the tragic result. My client feels very, very bad for the (Krawiec) family and, of course, the victim."