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Monday, November 26, 2007

Suicidal driver gets 8 years for crash that killed 3 musicians
November 26, 2007


Jeanette Sliwinski, the former model convicted last month in the deaths of three Chicago musicians who were killed when she rear-ended a car in which they were riding during a failed suicide attempt, was sentenced today to 8 years in prison.

Cook County Circuit Judge Garritt Howard, who found Sliwinski guilty but mentally ill on reckless homicide charges Oct. 26, imposed the sentence during an emotional hearing in the Skokie courtroom where he presided over her bench trial.

Prosecutors had asked that Sliwinski of Morton Grove receive the maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Sliwinski, 25, who has been held in the psychiatric ward of Cook County Jail since the July 2005 lunchtime crash at Dempster Street and Niles Center Road in Skokie, apologized to the relatives and friends of the victims who were in the courtroom, before being sentenced. She could be released from prison in a few years if she receives good-time credit.

"There's not a day that goes by I do not think about the grief and the pain I have caused," Sliwinski, weeping, told the judge while looking toward the victims' families. "I never meant to hurt anybody. I'm sorry."

Mental-health services would be available to Sliwinski in whatever prison she is assigned to, prosecutors said.

Sliwinski's relatives were on hand for the sentencing as were relatives and friends of the men killed in the crash- Chicagoans Michael Dahlquist, 39, John Glick, 35, and Douglas Meis, 29. At the time of the accident, the men were on their lunch break from work at Shure Inc, a Niles company that makes microphones and other audio electronic products.

Sliwinski pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the crash after being charged with first-degree murder. She told authorities she had gotten in a fight with her mother in the family's Morton Grove home before she got in her car, drove east on Dempster and slammed into Dahlquist's car at a stop light.

In his ruling, the judge rejected the first-degree murder charges and said he believed that Sliwinski was trying to kill herself.

m @ 8:41 PM


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