News - Sauk Valley

Man charged with DUI now also sued for wrongful death

Douglas M. Strehlow

MORRISON – A Milledgeville man involved in a fatal collision nearly a year ago, and the owners of the bars at which he was drinking, are being sued for wrongful death.

Douglas M. Strehlow, 44, of Sterling, was southbound on state Route 40 just north of Fulfs Road around 2:40 a.m. Aug. 19 when his Chevy Silverado pickup crossed the center line and collided with a northbound Chevy Cavalier driven by Summer D. Harmon, 40.

Harmon died Aug. 22 in a Wisconsin hospital of blunt force trauma as a result.

Strehlow was chagred June 1 with two counts of aggravated DUI involving a death, punishable by 3 to 7 years in prison. He was arrested the next day and remains in Whiteside County Jail on $500,000 bond. He has a preliminary hearing July 2.

On June 1, Sterling attorney James Mertes, who represents Harmon’s father, Ernest F. Anderson of Rock Falls, executor of her estate, sued Strehlow, Jeff L. Lancaster, owner of The Other Bar, 306 N. Main Ave., Curt D. Eubanks, owner of The Mill Wheel Tavern, 337 N. Main Ave.. both in Milledgeville, and The Mill Wheel Tavern LLC, seeking a jury trial and damages in excess of $50,000.

A case management conference is set for Oct. 1.

The bar owners and Eubanks’ limited liability company are being sued under Illinois’ Dram Shop Act, which gives people the right to sue for damages anyone who sells or gives alcohol to a person, causing or contributing to their drunkenness, if that person then injures or kills someone.

The claim can cover personal injury, property damage, and damage that leads to a the loss of support or society of the victim.

Harmon, a 1995 Rock Falls High School graduate, worked as a motor route carrier for Sauk Valley Media for more than 20 years, and was starting out on her route when the crash occurred.

In addition to her father, she is survived by her mother, Crystal K., and sister, Lindy Anderson of Neponset, beneficiaries of the estate.

Kathleen Schultz

Kathleen A. Schultz

Kathleen Schultz is a Sterling native with 40 years of reporting and editing experience in Arizona, California, Montana and Illinois.