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Cary man pleads not guilty in crash that killed 16-year-old McHenry girl

Caleb R. Rohrbach, 18, of Cary.

The 18-year-old Cary man facing DUI and other charges in connection with the crash that killed a 16-year-old McHenry girl in March has pleaded not guilty.

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 causing bodily harm or death, three counts of reckless homicide, two counts of aggravated reckless driving and possession of drug paraphernalia.

If found guilty on the aggravated driving under the influence causing death charge, Rohrbach could face up to 14 years in prison.

Danielle E. Thomas, 16, of McHenry, was killed March 15 after Rohrbach’s car drove into the wrong lanes of traffic, striking her vehicle head-on near Route 12 and Case Road, prosecutors said.

Rohrbach appeared in court Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to the charges. He remains held in the Lake County Jail on a $1 million bond.

Assistant Lake County State’s Attorney Lisa LeBoeuf said that Rohrbach’s vehicle was traveling over 70 mph and crossed a grassy median into oncoming traffic when he struck Danielle’s vehicle.

If Rohrbach is able to post bail, he will have to wear a Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring (SCRAM) device and be under a 24-hour curfew except when attending treatment or meeting with his attorney.

He was also ordered to refrain from consuming any drugs or alcohol, not possess any weapons and be subject to random drug testing should he be able to post bail.

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 around 10:15 p.m. March 15.

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

A gray Ford Focus, driven by Danielle, was traveling northbound on Route 12 when it was struck.

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 with major injuries.

The other 14-year-old passenger was transported to Northwestern Medicine McHenry Hospital with minor injuries.

“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 after the crash.

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

Rohrbach was taken into custody after an arrest warrant was issued for him on August 28 by the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office following months of investigation, police said.

A preliminary trial date has been set for January 21 in front of Lake County Circuit Court Judge Victoria Rossetti. Rohrbach is scheduled to appear back in court again on October 31.


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