Man arrested Friday at Prairie Grove elementary, junior high employee of restoration company, superintendent says

A man arrested Friday in the parking lot a Prairie Grove elementary and junior high schools following what was described by the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office as a “road rage incident“ was an employee of a restoration company hired by the district, the superintendent said in an email to parents.

The schools were placed on lockdown Friday morning for about a half hour after Donovan C. Stewart, 23, of Chicago, was arrested in the schools’ parking lot by Prairie Grove police and McHenry County sheriff’s deputies. Stewart is accused of displaying what appeared to be a firearm, which later turned out to be an airsoft gun, during a “road rage incident,” the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

The sheriff’s office described the man as an employee of a company hired by Prairie Grove School District 46, according to the release. He is not a school district employee.

“We did take several phone calls and emails after the unfortunate incident in our parking lot last Friday,” Superintendent John Bute wrote in an email to parents Sunday. “Some news outlets seemed to indicate that the individual arrested was a contracted employee of Prairie Grove Schools. That is NOT accurate.”

Bute said the district hired a restoration company Friday morning to clean up after the elementary school sustained a broken water line. Bute said Stewart was an employee of the restoration company.

“We have used this same firm previously and have had high quality service and professionalism,” Bute wrote.

No students were in the building when the incident occurred, according to the sheriff’s office. The district’s first day of school was moved to Monday after last week’s storms caused power outages at the school.

Stewart never entered the building during the incident. He was charged with two misdemeanor counts of aggravated assault.

Ben Szalinski

Ben Szalinski

Ben reports on local news in Harvard, Marengo, Huntley and Lake in the Hills along with the McHenry County Board. He graduated from the University of Illinois Springfield Public Affairs Reporting program in 2021. Ben is originally from Mundelein and enjoys outdoor activities and spending time with friends and family.