Driver going 107 mph in crash that killed teen gets 4-year sentence
Crash killed teen from Mount Prospect
A Wheeling man convicted in January of causing the high-speed crash that killed 16-year-old Alyssa Lendino of Mount Prospect was sentenced to four years in prison Wednesday.
Cook County Judge Joseph Cataldo's sentence was one year shy of the five-year maximum Adam Grunin faced.
Jurors found Grunin, 32, guilty of reckless homicide and aggravated reckless driving in the July 21, 2018, crash that also severely injured Alyssa's younger sister, Amanda, and father, Anthony. The family, including Alyssa's mother, were driving south on Milwaukee Avenue in Wheeling when Grunin's car struck them at 107.5 mph while the Lendinos' car was slowing for a stoplight.
Alyssa, a three-sport athlete, was about to begin her junior year at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights.
Defense attorneys say Grunin, who was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2015 and was taking prescribed medication at the time of the crash, suffered a seizure and had no control over his actions. Grunin, who had a valid driver's license and insurance, had no drugs or alcohol in his system.
Reading from a piece of paper he pulled from the pocket of his prison uniform, Grunin expressed his remorse to the Lendino family in a Rolling Meadows courtroom crowded with spectators.
"There are no words to express how sorry I am about what happened," he said with bowed head. "I pray every day for healing for everyone involved. I would never wish this pain on anyone."
Remembering her aspiring architect daughter as determined and loving, Michelle Lendino tearfully described Alyssa's absence as "a hole in my heart that will never be filled."
Referring to how he chronicled on video his oldest daughter's life from birth on, Anthony Lendino reflected on all the milestones and accomplishments denied to her, saying "this father's documentary is incomplete and will remain so."
Their emotional victim impact statements elicited sobs from their own family and friends as well as Grunin's supporters.
Cataldo acknowledged the lingering trauma from which the Lendino family will never heal. He also said the crime was unintentional and that Grunin showed remorse.
"He did not want to hurt anybody," said Cataldo, "but he did cause death to Alyssa and injuries to Anthony and Amanda ... severe injuries that can't be overlooked.
"His conduct killed someone ... and left a family in complete disarray. That's conduct that must be deterred."
Grunin received credit for 588 days in custody. He must complete at least 50% of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.