A judge ordered a Lakemoor man held in jail pending trial after he was charged with crashing into another car while intoxicated, killing a 21-year-old man who was in college on a full-ride scholarship, near Harvard.
Max P. McNamara, 31, of Lakemoor, was charged on Thursday with two counts of aggravated driving under the influence causing a fatal crash, a Class 2 felony, and a warrant was issued.
McNamara was initially charged in October with driving under the influence, a Class A misdemeanor.
The charges were the result of a three-vehicle crash with injuries that occurred around 1:52 a.m. on October 1 at Route 173 west of Flat Iron Road in unincorporated Harvard.
The Harvard Fire Protection District, McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, Harvard Police Department, Capron Rescue Squad, Marengo Fire and Rescue Districts and Mercyhealth MD-1 responded to the scene.
An investigation showed a 2017 Chevrolet Silverado, driven by McNamara, was traveling eastbound on Route 173, according to the sheriff’s office.
The Chevrolet crossed into the westbound lane of travel and collided with the left front of a 2017 Lincoln MKX.
The Lincoln drove off of the roadway to the south following the impact.
The Chevrolet continued traveling eastbound and collided head-on with a 2015 Ford Taurus that was traveling westbound, the sheriff’s office said.
Two Mercyhealth REACT medical helicopters were called and landed at the scene.
McNamara was transported by helicopter to Mercyhealth Javon Bea Hospital – Riverside in Rockford in serious condition.
McHenry County Coroner Dr. Michael Rein said the driver of the Ford, identified as Dejan Kuljanin, 21, of Rockford, was pronounced dead at the scene.
An autopsy confirmed Kuljanin died as a result of blunt force trauma from the crash, Rein said.
Sheriff’s officials previously said McNamara was driving under the influence of a combination of alcohol and drugs at the time of the crash.
The driver of the Lincoln, a 28-year-old Rockford woman, along with the passenger, a 34-year-old Rockford woman, were treated at the scene and released.
An obituary for Kuljanin said he was a fourth-year student at Rockford University studying elementary education on a full-ride scholarship.
He was enrolled in their Master’s program and planned to become a teacher in the Rockford Public School District.
The obituary said Kuljanin had a passion for helping children and the elderly.
Kuljanin planned on enrolling in nursing school and had plans to teach and work as a nurse.
“In Dejan’s young life, he had accomplished so much… Dejan was the epitome of what any good person strives to become. Many friends and family leaned on him for advice, support, and encouragement,” the family said in the obituary.
“Dejan’s young, kind, and generous heart will be sorely missed by numerous other relatives and dear friends in the USA, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and worldwide,” the obituary said.
McNamara was taken into custody on Thursday after the charges were upgraded and a warrant was issued.
Prosecutors filed a petition to detain McNamara pending trial, calling him a real and present danger to the community, court records show.
A detention hearing was held Monday before McHenry County Judge Michael Chmiel.
The judge granted the petition and remanded McNamara to the McHenry County Jail while he awaited trial.
Chmiel said there was no reasonable condition that could prevent McNamara from consuming drugs or alcohol and preventing the risk of another serious crash.
Chmiel also said he took into consideration many factors, including Kuljanin’s mother’s statement, McNamara’s prior criminal history and the presented toxicology proffer from prosecutors.
McNamara is scheduled to appear in court again on January 11 for a status of preliminary hearing.