Man pleads guilty in McHenry crash that killed his mother, gets 3 years in prison

Neither drugs nor alcohol were a factor in the fatal crash, police and prosecutors say

Emmet J. Zywiec,

A man who drove at high speeds in McHenry, ran a red light and crashed his car, killing his mother, pleaded guilty Wednesday and was sentenced to three years in prison.

Emmet J. Zywiec, formerly of Round Lake and now of Wisconsin, pleaded guilty to reckless homicide, a Class 3 felony. Sentencing on a Class 3 felony ranges from probation to five years in prison.

He is required to serve half his prison time and then six months of supervised release, according to the sentencing order in the McHenry County court. He also will get credit for 476 days he was in custody at the county jail. Remaining counts of reckless homicide and aggravated reckless driving, as well as two criminal misdemeanor cases, were dismissed, court records show.

At just after 4 p.m. on June 17, 2021, Zywiec drove a 2006 Ford Crown Victoria eastbound on Elm Street at Curran Road at 82 mph in a 45 mph zone; he disobeyed a red light and entered the intersection, court records show. The Ford collided with a 2012 Hyundai Veloster as it was attempting a left turn to travel south on Curran Road, according to a McHenry Police Department news release at the time.

Zywiec’s mother Gabrielle Zywiec, 52, of Wonder Lake, was a passenger in the car her son was driving. Firefighters extricated her from the Ford and she was flown by LifeNet McHenry to Advocate Condell Medical Center, where she later died, police have said.

Two people who were traveling in the Hyundai were treated at Northwestern Medicine McHenry Hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening. There were no indications that drugs or alcohol played a factor in the crash, police and prosecutors have said.

In 2019, Gabrielle Zywiec and her family were the recipients of a Wonder Lake home that was rehabilitated through Habitat for Humanity of McHenry County. Her husband had died about seven years earlier, leading Gabrielle Zywiec’s family into financial troubles that caused them to move frequently, according to prior Northwest Herald reporting. Gabrielle Zywiec hoped the home would bring stability to their lives, she said at the time.

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