A man who swerved off the road while driving and fatally struck a pedestrian walking in Ingleside has been convicted by a jury of driving under the influence with eight drugs in his system.
The crash happened around 6:40 p.m. on June 3, 2021, near Route 59 and Stanton Point Road in Ingleside.
Sheriff’s deputies arrived and located a black Chrysler 300 that had struck and critically injured Michael Brennan, 53, of Ingleside, according to Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli.
An investigation showed the Chrysler, driven by Brian J. King, 41, of Ingleside, was traveling northbound on Route 59.
A witness called 911 after noticing King’s vehicle swerving off the roadway while driving.
As King approached Stanton Point Road, he continued swerving out of his lane of traffic and struck Brennan, who was walking on grass and gravel next to the shoulder, Covelli said.
Brennan was walking on the south shoulder of Route 59, Covelli said, adding that there are no sidewalks in the area.
Prosecutors said King had been swerving repeatedly for approximately 13 miles before he struck Brennan.
Brennan sustained major injuries and was transported to Advocate Condell Medical Center in critical condition. He died almost two weeks later on June 16, 2021.
Covelli said an extensive investigation included a detailed examination and analysis of the scene, interviews with witnesses, vehicle inspections, reviewing materials obtained via subpoena and more.
King, who was uninjured in the incident, was found to have numerous drugs in his system at the time of the crash, Covelli said.
Prosecutors said King had methamphetamine and seven other controlled substances in his body.
King was charged with aggravated driving while under the influence of drugs, aggravated driving under the influence causing death and reckless homicide.
“This was a completely preventable tragedy which took the life of an innocent person, because someone made the careless and selfish decision to drive impaired,” Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg said at the time King was arrested.
A jury trial began last Monday and concluded on Wednesday with the jury finding King guilty of aggravated driving under the influence of a drug, a Class 2 felony.
An expert in forensic toxicology from the Northeastern Illinois Regional Crime Lab, as well as witnesses and law enforcement officers, testified at trial.
A medical expert also testified about the injuries Brennan suffered and how it led to his death.
Lake County Judge Mark Levitt revoked King’s bond following the guilty verdict. King had been held in the Lake County Jail on a $500,000 bond.
“Our team secured justice for Michael through this verdict. I am so proud of the excellent efforts of the Sheriff’s Office, trial prosecutors, and victim-support professionals who all worked together in this heartbreaking case,” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said after the jury’s decision.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for September 13.