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Driver in fatal Waukegan crash ‘out of my mind’

Donald Mischke

Donald Mischke

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Updated: January 21, 2013 3:48PM

The Lisle man accused of ramming his car into a Waukegan Target to steal a TV and then of running a red light and fatally smashing into the car of a Grayslake woman told police he was “totally out of it” in his recorded confession.

Donald Mischke, 56, is on trial before Lake County Judge Mark Levitt on charges of first-degree murder and aggravated DUI resulting in death. He is accused of the Dec. 23, 2010, incident in which he fled from the Target at 3050 N. Lewis Ave., then ran a red light at Green Bay Road and Belvidere Street in Waukegan, striking the driver’s side door of Elisha Clark-Idelburg, 25, who died at the scene.

Mischke told Waukegan Detective Francisco Lopez that he had smoked crack “much earlier” the evening of the incident.

“I thought about getting the TV for cash money,” Mischke said on the recorded interview, played in court Wednesday.

Mischke said a man approached him the day before and asked for a TV. Mischke rammed his Mazda into the store, ran in and grabbed a TV. He said he intended to use the money from the TV sale to go to Minnesota.

“I was out of my mind, freaking out. I found the Target on accident, then I decided to try to get a TV, like an idiot. I’ve never done anything like that,” Mischke said on the videotape.

He heard the store’s alarm go off and said he was “panicking and freaking out.”

“I had never done anything like that before. Police came. I panicked more and thought I was going to die. I thought I was going to get shot,” Mischke said.

He hopped in his car and drove away from the scene, thinking he saw flashing lights behind him the entire time. He said he remembered his car getting hit, but he thought it was police who crashed into his car to stop him.

He did not learn that someone died until his children visited him in the hospital, Mischke told Lopez during the recorded interview.

“They told me I killed somebody. That floored me,” Mischke said on the tape. “I committed a crime that I never committed before. It was evil. It was not right.”

Mischke was hospitalized for three weeks after the crash. His attorney Chris Lombardo unsuccessfully sought to bar the video confession from the trial.

Mischke was visibly emotional when Dr. Manuel Montez testified about the injuries Clark-Idelburg incurred from the accident. She had a fractured neck, her left rib cage was crushed and she had cuts to many internal organs, Montez testified. She died of multiple traumatic injuries, he said.

Mischke wiped tears away multiple times during Montez’s testimony.

Prosecutors Reginald Mathews and Mary Stanton rested their case Wednesday, calling several police officers and four Target store employees; playing video from squad cars, the red-light camera at the intersection and from Target’s surveillance.

Mischke is in custody at Lake County Jail. He faces 20 to 60 years in prison if found guilty.

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