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Man charged in connection with Wauconda crash that killed McHenry West High School student

Danielle Thomas, 16, of McHenry, was killed on March 15 in Wauconda after a two-vehicle crash.

An 18-year-old man is facing several charges, including DUI, in connection with the Route 12 crash in Wauconda that killed a 16-year-old McHenry West High School student in March.

Caleb R. Rohrbach, 18, of the 300 block of Wooded Knoll Drive in Cary, was charged with three counts of aggravated driving under the influence of cannabis, three counts of reckless homicide and two counts of aggravated reckless driving, Wauconda police announced Thursday afternoon.

Danielle E. Thomas, 16, of McHenry, was killed on March 15 after Rohrbach’s car drove into the wrong lanes of traffic, striking her vehicle head-on.

The Wauconda Police Department and Wauconda Fire District responded to the crash in the northbound lanes of Route 12 just south of Case Road at 10:15 p.m. March 15.

Wauconda Police spokeswoman Heather Cognac said that a black Hyundai Elantra, driven by Rohrbach, was traveling southbound on Route 12 when his vehicle crossed the center median and entered the northbound lanes of Route 12.

A gray Ford Focus, driven by Danielle, was traveling northbound on Route 12 when it was struck head-on by Rohrbach’s car.

A two-vehicle head-on crash on Route 12 in Wauconda left a 16-year-old girl dead and four other teens injured on March 15 | Photo provided to Lake and McHenry County Scanner by the Wauconda Police Department.

Danielle was extricated from her car and transported to Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington where she was pronounced dead, Cognac said. Rohrbach was also extricated from his car and transported to Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital.

Two 14-year-olds and a 15-year-old girl, who are McHenry residents, were passengers in the Ford. One of the 14-year-old passengers and the 15-year-old passenger were transported to Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington.

The other 14-year-old passenger was transported to Northwestern Medicine McHenry Hospital where she was treated and released.

“Please take a few minutes to pray for all who was involved in the horrible crash. There has been so many people telling me that Danielle would light up a room with her smile, laughs and energy. You will be missed by so many,” McHenry Mayor Wayne Jett said shortly after the crash.

A GoFundMe account started for Danielle’s family in March was able to raise more than $25,000.

An arrest warrant was issued by the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office for Rohrbach following months of investigation, police said. His bond has been set at $1 million.


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