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2 deputies who crashed near Wonder Lake

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois Emergency Services Vehicles

2 deputies who crashed near Wonder Lake

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
June 24, 2011


On June 8 two McHenry County Sheriff's Department deputies crashed their squad cars in unincorporated Wonder Lake. Each was on duty.

I knew the names of the deputies, Jon Heideman and Nicole Laskowski, pretty quickly. This morning they were finally printed in the Northwest Herald, even though the paper's first article about the crash was on June 16, well after the crash itself.

The Public Information Officer gave little information to the reporter for that previous article. I filed a FOIA Request electronically on June 16. Responses to previous FOIA requests have always been received by email from the MCSD FOIA Officer on the fifth business day after filing, which would have been yesterday. In this case, though, perhaps the FOIA Officer was ordered by a superior to mail the response to me yesterday, which means I'll receive it late today or even Saturday. Then, by the time I get to her office to pay the $5 crash report fee, her office will be closed for the week-end and I'll wait until Monday.

"Mail" can be played with. If you put an envelope in the mailbox, you have "mailed" it. But if you put it in the mailbox after the pick-up from that box, it won't be processed until the following day, and then delivered on yet another day after that.

The FOIA Officer at the McHenry County Sheriff's Department follows the law of the State of Illinois. I absolutely trust her integrity. I wish I could say the same for those above her in the chain-of-command.

I surely wouldn't want to try and convict anyone on the "evidence" in the newspaper article.

The article says the report (it doesn't say the official Illinois Vehicle Crash Report) "cites" improper passing" and "failing to yield to (sic) right of way" as contributory causes. OK, so which driver was ticketed? It doesn't say. Were tickets issued? (Between 1998-2008 eight traffic tickets were issued to Jon Heideman. In 2001 Nicole Laskowski got a seat-belt ticket.)

Both deputies were on duty (which the Public Information Officer didn't know for the June 16th article (yeah, sure...)) and were northbound on E. Wonder Lake Ave. approaching Chippewa Drive. Laskowski says she was "trying to make a left turn". What does "trying" mean? She was either turning left or she wasn't. Laskowski says she was halfway through her left turn when her car was struck.

Heideman apparently thought Laskowski was pulling onto the east (right-hand) shoulder and began to pass Laskowski.

Now picture this: Heideman's car is reportedly damaged on the right front and middle. Laskowski's car was damaged "across the front". Huh?

An internal investigation is underway. Was this crash investigated by an outside agency?

Why would an "internal" still be underway? Isn't a traffic crash between two deputies, resulting in no injuries, both vehicles towed and "more than $1,500 damage (OK, how much more???) a pretty straight forward incident? Where's the hang-up?

By the way, in violation of the Sheriff's Department's own Public Information and Media Relations Policy, there is still NO press release on the Sheriff's website at http://www.mchenrysheriff.org/

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