Victim identified in Island Lake death investigation
A car that crashed into a Mundelein house Tuesday morning was taken from the home of an Island Lake woman who was found dead the night before, authorities said.
Authorities have identified the woman as 48-year-old Karen M. Scavelli.
"Preliminary findings as to cause suggest that her death was due to injuries sustained from blunt force trauma," McHenry County Coroner Anne Majewski said in a news release.
Toxicology results are still pending.
A 49-year-old McHenry man was arrested after that crash, and charges are pending, Mundelein police said. His name was not released.
The woman's body was found about 9:30 p.m. Monday in her house on the 700 block of Dartmouth Drive. Police Chief Don Bero declined to release her name but said she was in her 40s or 50s.
A different woman who had intended to visit the house called police Monday night because something appeared suspicious at the home, Bero said.
Police found the woman's body in a bedroom, he said.
Island Lake Trustee Keith Johns lives about a block from the house and knows relatives of a woman who lives there.
"My thoughts and prayers are with everybody involved," Johns said.
Mayor Charles Amrich called the woman's death "unfortunate."
"It's sad that these things happen," Amrich said.
During the subsequent investigation, a relative told police a red Pontiac Grand Am was missing from the house, according to a news release from the McHenry County sheriff's office, which is assisting Island Lake police.
That car was spotted in Mundelein on Tuesday morning.
Mundelein police got involved about 8:30 a.m. when someone reported a stolen purse at Gale Street Inn, 935 Diamond Lake Road.
Employees were in the restaurant and saw a man walk in and act "strangely," Mundelein Police Chief Eric Guenther said.
One employee saw the man take a co-worker's purse and get into a red Pontiac Grand Am in the parking lot, Guenther said. The employee called police with a description of the thief and the car, Guenther said.
A police officer driving to the restaurant spotted the car on Diamond Lake Road and followed it, Guenther said.
The driver unexpectedly turned around and drove back to the restaurant parking lot, and the officer followed with his lights and siren on, Guenther said. At the restaurant, the suspect drove in circles for a while, then went back onto Diamond Lake Road headed south, Guenther said.
The officer pursued the car. When he found the vehicle, it already had crashed into the house.
A neighbor said he saw the crash.
"We heard the sirens, the police sirens," he said. "When I looked through the blinds, I saw the red car. It just shot straight into the house."
No one was in the house at the time, authorities said. It was badly damaged by the impact.
The driver had a hammer and a knife in the car, Guenther said. After more officers arrived, they subdued the man with a stun gun and arrested him.
The man was taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, where he was in an intensive care unit, Guenther said.
Police released no information about where the driver was before appearing at the Gale Street Inn.
•Daily Herald staff writer Mick Zawislak contributed to this report