'Last family who would deserve anything like this': Driver going 107 mph in deadly crash, police say
A Cook County judge set bail at $300,000 Wednesday for a Wheeling man who authorities say was driving 107 mph before rear-ending a Mount Prospect family's car while fleeing from an earlier crash, killing 16-year-old Alyssa Lendino.
Adam Grunin, 30, of the 500 block of Manda Lane, faces a charge of reckless homicide stemming from the crash that occurred about 2 p.m. Saturday, when his Hyundai Sonata smashed into the back of the Lendino family's Chevrolet Equinox on southbound Milwaukee Avenue at Hintz Road in Wheeling.
The impact forced the Lendinos' vehicle into the intersection, where it struck a Toyota Tundra pickup that was turning from eastbound Hintz to northbound Milwaukee, authorities said.
Alyssa, who would have been a junior this year at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, was killed and seven others were injured.
Her 12-year-old sister, Amanda, underwent surgery Wednesday afternoon at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, where she has been in a pediatric intensive-care unit, Assistant Cook County State's Attorney Maria McCarthy said.
"She suffered fractures to both legs, a shattered pelvis, a fracture of the left clavicle and a large laceration in her left calf," McCarthy said. "She has undergone several blood transfusions. ... According to medical personnel, she will have to learn to walk again. She must be custom-fitted for a wheelchair because of her inability to sit properly due to her pelvic injuries."
Grunin appeared at Wednesday's bond hearing in Rolling Meadows wearing a bandage over his forehead and left arm in a sling. Cook County Associate Judge Marc Martin set the $300,000 bail after saying Grunin, who doesn't have a criminal history, is a flight risk and made false statements to authorities after the crash.
McCarthy said Alyssa's father remains in a general surgical unit at Lutheran General, where he's being treated for spinal fractures, multiple rib fractures and a lacerated spleen. Her mother received stitches for a forehead injury and was released from Lutheran General a day after the crash, the prosecutor said.
Four of Alyssa's friends who have known her since kindergarten and other Lendino family supporters attended the bond hearing. Among them was 15-year-old Morgan Breden.
"I have a lot of anger about this," Morgan said. "She was the last person and they were the last family who would deserve anything like this. I can't believe that some human could manage to do this to another person."
Erin Riley, 16, said she'll always remember how Alyssa wanted the best for everyone.
"Her smile was so contagious," Erin said in the courthouse lobby. "Just seeing her smile, everyone would smile. And I want no one to forget that about her."
McCarthy said Grunin was fleeing a minor crash at 499 S. Milwaukee Ave. in Wheeling when he drove straight into the back of the Lendinos' vehicle. A "black box" from Grunin's car showed he was driving 107 mph at the time of impact and that it appears he did not try to brake, she said.
Grunin was not on a mobile device and toxicology tests showed no alcohol or drugs in his system, McCarthy said.
He was treated for a fractured wrist and laceration above an eye at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville then taken into police custody.
Defense attorney Sergei Kuchinski said his client has epilepsy, diabetes and a cognitive disorder.
But McCarthy said a Condell physician told police that tests indicated Grunin did not suffer a epileptic seizure at the time of the crash.
Grunin told paramedics that he worked a night shift before the crash and must have fallen asleep, McCarthy said at the bond hearing. However, she added, police investigators went to Grunin's employer and learned his most recent night shift was July 18 and he did not work after that day.
A preliminary hearing for Grunin is set for Aug. 16 at the county courthouse in Rolling Meadows.
An online fundraiser at gofundme.com/AlyssaLendino for the Lendino family had taken in $22,675 in donations as of Wednesday afternoon.