Man Responsible for Killing Crystal Lake Family Arrested for Another DUI on Sunday
Walter J. Depner, 61, of Mt. Prospect, was arrested by McHenry County Sheriff's police in Lakemoor and charged with various offenses.
A Lakemoor resident on Sunday night got an unwelcomed guest who turned out to be a Mt. Prospect man on parole.
The intruder - Walter J. Depner, 61, of Mt. Prospect - is out on parole after serving 12 years of a 14-year sentence for the DUI-related crash that took the lives of a Crystal Lake woman and her three children in 1999, according to the Northwest Herald.
The Burleson family, of Crystal Lake, was on their way home from a day at Great America when Depner crashed into their mini-van and killed Eva, 34, Daniel, 13, Tiffany, 11 and Dallis, 7. Thomas Burleson, the husband and father, was the sole survivor of the crash, the Herald reports.
McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren said officers were dispatched at 6:17 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, for a well-being check on a person who reportedly drove off the road near 905 W. Rand Road in unincorporated Lakemoor.
While deputies were in route to that location, a second call came in regarding an "unwanted subject" at a home in the 500 block of North Boulevard, also in unincorporated Lakemoor. Upon arriving at Rand Road, deputies saw the vehicle that had veered off the road was gone, Nygren said.
Meanwhile, at the North Boulevard house, the homeowner told deputies a man pulled his car into his driveway, walked into his house and sat on his couch. The homeowner recognized the intruder as someone who used to live in the neighborhood.
The unwanted guest was identified as Depner, now living at 1717 Aralia Dr., Mt. Prospect, Nygren said.
Sheriff’s deputies spoke with Depner, who said he was previously at his girlfriend’s house and they had gotten into an argument. Depner appeared intoxicated and took his girlfriend’s vehicle for a drive in his old neighborhood, Nygren said.
Depner was upset, and his speech was slurred. McHenry Township Fire Protection District responded to the scene and provided Depner with medical attention.
The vehicle Depner was driving had snow on the left bumper with minor damage to it. There was no property damage located on Rand Road, Nygren said. Depner was transported to Centegra Hospital McHenry for medical treatment, where he currently remains.
Depner was issued four citations:
- Driving while license revoked
- Driving an uninsured motor vehicle
- Improper lane use
Bond for Depner was set at $1,500. He is scheduled to appear in court March 15.
The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office continues to work with the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office and Depner’s Parole Officer during the course of this investigation. Additional charges may be pending.