Crime & Courts

Paramedics gave woman charged in fatal McHenry crash drugs en route to hospital, attorney says

Defense wants prosecutors to clarify what drugs the Wisconsin woman was alleged under the influence of at the time of the crash

An attorney for a Wisconsin woman involved in a fatal crash is asking McHenry County prosecutors to clarify what drugs his client allegedly took at the time of a fatal crash that led to her being criminally charged.

About 10:20 a.m. Aug. 7, Alyssa Popp, 31, of Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, was driving north on Route 31 between Ringwood and McHenry when her 2021 GMC Acadia crossed the center line and struck a 2015 Acura TLX traveling south, according to a news release from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office.

The head-on crash killed 56-year-old Christina Smith of Elmhurst, police said.

Popp was charged three months later with aggravated driving under the influence resulting in a death and reckless homicide involving a motor vehicle, according to McHenry County court documents.

According to the initial criminal complaint filed Nov. 18, Popp was accused of driving under the influence of marijuana and prescription medication.

In court this week, Popp appeared with her attorney, Philip Prossnitz, who motioned to set a hearing on the bill of particulars.

In the bill of particulars, Prossnitz is taking issue with the wording of the formal indictment filed against Popp on Jan. 4. An indictment is filed after a prosecutor has presented the charges to a grand jury.

According to the formal indictment, Popp “was under the influence of a drug or combination of drugs to a degree that [rendered] her incapable of driving safely” causing a fatal crash. The indictment does not indicate what drug or drugs were allegedly consumed by Popp, Prossnitz said in a court filing.

Prossnitz wrote that while en route to the hospital from the crash scene, Popp said she was “administered medications by ambulance personnel. She also may have taken medically prescribed medications,” he wrote.

He also is asking prosecutors to explain what they mean by the “reckless acts” Popp is accused of being engaged in at the time of the crash.

Without clarification of such details, Prossnitz said, he is unable to adequately prepare for Popp’s defense.

A hearing is set to argue the bill of particulars at 9 a.m. March 4.