McHenry nurse pleads guilty to going to work drunk, gets probation

Angela Hutchison lost nurse license and was accepted into drug court

Angela Hutchison

A McHenry nurse accused of going to work drunk last year at a Crystal Lake long-term care facility pleaded guilty Tuesday and was sentenced to 30 months of probation, public service and fines.

Angela Hutchison, 48, pleaded guilty to one count of criminal neglect of a long-term health care facility resident, a Class 4 felony, according to McHenry County court records. As part of the plea deal, an additional count of the same charge was dismissed. A Class 4 felony can carry a prison term of one to three years and also is probational.

Hutchison must complete 100 hours of public service and pay $2,169 in fines and fees. She was sentenced to 180 days of jail time, which Judge Mark Gerhardt ordered not be enforced pending the completion of probation and public service hours, according to the sentencing orders.

Hutchison also was accepted into drug court.

The health and safety of our residents and patients have been and will always be our top priorities. We have zero tolerance for anyone who comes to our facility under the influence.”

—  Fair Oaks Administrator Noreen Zaio

Any violations of obligations imposed as part of drug court could result in her arrest, a revocation of her sentence and a resentencing on the original offense, according to the drug court sentencing order. Those obligations include not violating any crimes, appearing in person before the drug court, and cooperating with and maintaining truthful and appropriate communications with the drug court and any treatment provider or counselor.

Hutchison also must refrain from possessing a firearm or other dangerous weapons, cannot leave the state with out prior consent of the court and must comply with any set curfew, according to the order.

On July 25, Hutchison’s registered professional nurse license was “indefinitely suspended for a minimum of one year due to substance use and impairment,” according to the Illinois Department of Financial Professional Regulation.

Hutchinson was accused of “criminally neglect(ing) the residents of [the] Fair Oaks Health Care Center” on June 11, 2023, by “perform(ing) acts that created a substantial likelihood that a resident’s life be endangered, health be injured, or preexisting physical or mental condition to deteriorate, due to her level of intoxication while caring for residents,” according to the criminal indictment.

Hutchison was “terminated from employment immediately” after it was suspected that she was intoxicated while on duty, Fair Oaks Administrator Noreen Zaio said in an email at the time.

Hutchison’s access to the facility was blocked, and the police were called, Zaio said.

“The health and safety of our residents and patients have been and will always be our top priorities,” Zaio said. “We have zero tolerance for anyone who comes to our facility under the influence.”

The Fair Oaks Health Care Center provides short-term respite care, inpatient or outpatient rehab therapy, long-term skilled nursing and hospice care services, according to the nonprofit’s website.

After her arrest, an internal investigation was completed, and it was determined that no residents or patients experienced harm, neglect or negative outcomes, Zaio said. Administrators cooperated with police and communicated with the Illinois Department of Public Health regarding the investigation, she said.

Attempts to reach Hutchison’s attorney Tuesday were not successful.