Round Lake man gets 6 years for DUI crash that killed young dad
By Jim Newton firstname.lastname@example.org | @JimNewton5 December 6, 2013 11:55AM
Updated: January 8, 2014 6:09AM
Anthony Cechini of Fox Lake was sentenced to six years in prison Thursday for driving under the influence in the crash that killed 21-year-old McHenry resident David Letchinger, Jr. in September 2012.
At the sentencing hearing in Lake County Circuit Court, Letchinger’s family said they are serving a life term as a result of the crash.
Cechini, 24, had pleaded guilty to aggravated DUI, as well as misdemeanor domestic battery for an incident in which he attacked a former girlfriend while out on bond on the DUI charges.
Judge Daniel Shanes sentenced Cechini to six years in prison for the DUI incident that killed Letchinger, who was a passenger in his car.
He also sentenced Cechini to 364 days in prison for the domestic battery. The two sentences will run simultaneously.
Shanes handed down the sentence following a series of emotional victim impact statements from the Letchinger family, including his mother and fiance, who is the mother of his young son.
Jackie Davis said she and Letchinger were to marry last month, but instead of shopping for wedding bands and looking forward to her marriage, she had to shop for a casket and help make funeral arrangements.
Davis, who said she watched her fiance die at Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, said Cechini’s “senseless act” of driving under the influence robbed her fiance of the chance to see his young son grow up, left the child without a father and devastated her life.
“My heart was destroyed. I could not sleep for weeks,” she said. “How can you possibly tell a 3-year-old that his dad isn’t here anymore?”
She said she hopes the case results in even more attention placed on impaired driving.
“I wouldn’t wish this on anyone,” Davis said.
Letchinger’s mother, Joellen Letchinger, cried most of the way through a lengthy statement describing how her son’s death ruined her life and changed her family dynamics forever.
“The day is branded in my memory. I remember kissing David goodbye,” she said. “I just kept saying please God, no. At 4:58 a.m. (Sept. 29, 2012), my family changed forever. I remember walking out of the hospital leaving my son behind.”
Letchinger said she was so proud of her son for how he embraced fatherhood at a young age and worked hard to provide for his new son and fiance.
“What can I say to do justice to the gut-wrenching pain I feel every day?” she said.
Letchinger was the front-seat passenger in Cechini’s car when it crashed into a tree in the 100 block of Nippersink Boulevard in Fox Lake last fall.
Cechini was out on bond when the domestic battery incident occurred in early September of this year.
He was remanded to Lake County Jail after that incident, where he has remained in custody on a $1 million bond. He will soon be moved into the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections to serve the prison term.