A Mundelein woman has been charged with fleeing the scene after running over a Deerfield school board member with her car, leaving the woman to die in Highland Park in June.
Melanie A. Hass, 37, of Mundelein, was charged with leaving the scene of a fatal crash, a Class 1 felony.
Maureen Wener, 49, of Deerfield, was riding her bicycle around 12:37 p.m. on June 2 near Deerfield Road and Piccadilly Road in Highland Park.
Wener was struck by a 2020 Jeep Wrangler, allegedly driven by Hass, and then ran over, leaving her with severe injuries.
Hass fled the scene prior to police arriving without rendering aid or reporting the incident to police, according to Highland Park officials.
Wener was transported to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville by ambulance.
She died from her injuries shortly after arriving at the hospital.
The Lake County Major Crash Assistance Team (MCAT) was called to assist the Highland Park Police Department.
Deerfield Road between Carriage Way and Ridge Road was shut down in both directions for several hours during the investigation.
Wener was the secretary of the Deerfield Public Schools District 109 Board of Education.
“The City extends its deepest condolences to the family of Maureen Wener and to her colleagues on the Deerfield Public Schools District109 Board of Education. Her commitment to the Deerfield and Highland Park communities through her work, public service, and volunteerism will be greatly missed,” the city said in a statement at the time of her death.
“Moe was active on the Deerfield Library and School Boards, loved local politics, her 5 PM Starbucks, sweets – especially chocolate, had a passion for biking,” her obituary said.
The charge against Hass was announced by police Friday morning. Officers arrested her and she was transported to the Lake County Courthouse for an initial court hearing.
Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Emma Smoler informed Lake County Judge Raymond Collins during the hearing that the charge against Hass is non-detainable under the Illinois SAFE-T Act’s Pretrial Fairness provision.
The prosecutor and the judge appeared taken aback by the fact that someone who commits a fatal hit-and-run cannot be held in jail under the state’s new law.
In an unusual move, Collins ordered Hass temporarily detained pending a detention hearing after finding she was a flight risk.
He scheduled a detention hearing for Friday afternoon to determine whether she will remain held in custody pending trial.
Last week, a wrongful death lawsuit was filed against Hass by Lewis Law Firm in Lake Forest on behalf of the woman’s husband, Paul Rundell.
The seven-page complaint alleges Hass made an illegal U-turn while driving her Jeep and struck Wener.
Hass made the turn from Deerfield Road onto Piccadilly Road and back onto Deerfield Road to travel eastbound while returning to her workplace in Highland Park, the complaint said.
The suit said Hass was driving too fast for conditions, not paying attention to the roadway while distracted and did not keep a proper lookout for vehicles and pedestrians while making the U-turn.
Attorney Brian Lewis told Lake and McHenry County Scanner that Wener’s family has been through a tragedy.
The attorney last week publicly called on the police department to charge Hass.
The attorney said Wener’s death left a “very big, empty seat” at the family’s Thanksgiving dinner table.
“We hope the Lake County State’s Attorney will move forward against the defendant right away so Maureen’s family can get the justice, and closure, they deserve,” Lewis said.