Lake Zurich Fatal Crash Leads to 6-Year Sentence for Driver

Crash killed Lake Barrington woman in March, 2011.

 A Central Illinois man was sentenced to six years in jail, today, for driving under the influence of drugs and causing a crash in Lake Zurich that resulted in the death of a Lake Barrington woman, according to a news release from the Lake Zurich Police Department.

Thomas G. Murphy, 40, 208 E. Jackson Street Cullom, IL pled guilty in Lake County Court today, and was sentenced to six years in the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) for Aggravated Driving Under the Influence Causing a Death.

at approximately 2:50 p.m. in the area of Rte. 12 and Honey Lake Road. Lake Zurich Police responded and due to the severity of the crash the Lake County Major Crash Assistance Team (LC MCAT) was requested to assist in the investigation of the crash.  The traffic crash involved three vehicles and resulted in the death of Katharine Walker-Hoffmann, 56, 373 Mallard Point, Lake Barrington, IL. Two other individuals were transported to area hospitals for minor injuries.   

 According to the News Sun, Murphy’s vehicle was traveling south on Route 12, when it left the roadway and struck a second vehicle and Walker-Hoffman, who was standing outside her vehicle at a nearby car wash. 

 On May 12, 2011 the investigation was presented to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office.  An arrest warrant was subsequently issued for Murphy for three counts of Reckless Homicide, four counts of Aggravated Driving Under the Influence of Drugs and Aggravated Driving With An Amount of a Drug.

After pleading guilty today, Murphy was remanded into the custody of the Lake County Sheriff upon sentencing.  He will be transferred to IDOC and must serve 85% of the sentence. 

"The Lake Zurich Police Department is committed to protecting the users of all Village roadways by fully investigating all traffic crashes and enforcing all traffic laws.  Motorist found to be under the influence of alcohol and / or drugs will be arrested and held accountable for their actions," the Lake Zurich Police news release stated.

 The Lake County States Attorney Office and Major Crash Assistance Team of Lake County (MCAT) assisted investigators of the Lake Zurich Police Department during the investigation.       

Marie November 03, 2012 at 06:58 AM
I sure hope nobody you are close to is afflicted with brain damage, brain disorder or mental illness! Before you judge, research. www.nami.org or www.epilepsy.com.
reader November 12, 2012 at 06:42 PM
His choice to operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs cannot be excused by mental illness or brain damage. It is unfortunate for the community of people who are afflicted and don't behave in this manner. HIS CHOICE that day left a legion of people shattered. His victims choice that day was to have her car washed. Not be erased from the lives of her family and friends. I do judge him. Defending a murderer may bring you comfort, but only you.
Marie November 12, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Not even in the eyes of the court was he called a murderer so it is your ignorence and judgment that makes you feel important by judging another person. He was not high or inebriated while driving. Did he break the law by having marjuana in his system and driving? Yes. Was he using that day? No. Did the marijuana in his system cause the accident? NO. So havig a siezure was NOT HIS CHOICE! This was a horrific accident for all parties involved. As far as the point you are trying to make that, "It is unfortunate for the community of people who are afflicted and don't behave in this manner" you definitely show your ignorance there. The inability to make sound decisions are not always clear to those that suffer from brain damage... just as someone with down syndrome can be to touchy feely and have also been sent to prison for it. Do you think that is right too? Maybe if we as a community would take the time to learn and help rather than judge, true justice would be served.
reader November 12, 2012 at 07:41 PM
I have family friends with brain injury that do not drive. I have a family member with DS. He does not drive. Period. The ounce of pot in has car was for what if not personal use? He had his day in court. He is where he belongs. His victim is NOT where she belongs. She should be at home with her family. This does not make me feel important, just sad.
Marie November 13, 2012 at 03:38 AM
I am sure your family friends that have brain damage are under the care of a physician that told them not to drive. As you must know by having experience finding a capable Dr. is very difficult in this area of expertise. Still being able to drive after the brain damage was a bad call and it should not have happened. Self medicating is also a bad choice and a result of not being able to make decisions in the same manner. This is not an excuse, I am saying it is a result of mental illness that was not handled in the proper manner. I too have family with DS and he does not drive but he does go out in public and interact with other people and not always in an apropriate manner but is lucky enough to have help and understanding. We also have a friend who's son has DS and was arrested at 23 years old for groping a cashier when he was on an outing for christmas shopping. No one was hurt but the law is the law. What happened here is tragic and of course it is not fair that this woman died. It is not fair for her family to have lost her to soon. and yes in a perfect world this would not happen. It is also not fair that his family had stopped thier life to care for a man that broke 11 bones including skull fractures and a brain bleed at the same time trying to still care for the family. It is not fair that his kids cry at night in fear for his life. Bottom line life is not fair. You may feel sad for the deceased and her family only, whereas I am sad for both families.


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