Monday, February 26, 2007

PATRICIA HENNEKEN

February 6, 2007
Sandy Innis cried in a Rolling Meadows courtroom Monday when a prosecutor detailed some of the injuries suffered by her daughter in a fatal car collision: a broken spine, facial fractures and a broken pelvis.

Innis’ 28-year-old daughter, Patricia Henneken, was so much more than a collection of fatal wounds on a report.

She was a beautiful woman inside and out,” Innis said after the hearing, holding a picture of her only daughter. “She had a heart of gold. She was such a good mother.”

Javier Rico, a 26-year-old Hanover Park resident, pleaded guilty Monday to aggravated driving under the influence in the crash that killed Innis’ daughter. In exchange for the plea, he was sentenced to eight years in prison. He faced up to 14 years.

Rico, of the 6700 block of Pine Tree Street, admitted to drinking a dozen beers before slamming his van into Henneken’s car at 1:30 a.m. May 29, 2006.

Henneken, the mother of a 9-year-old son, was running to pick up medicine for the boy at a drug store on the 2500 block of West Golf Road in Hoffman Estates when Rico’s car struck hers at more than 70 mph.

Rico was driving without his headlights on when he ran a red light at the intersection near Golf and Barrington roads.

Mike Andre, a Cook County assistant state’s attorney, said a Hoffman Estates police officer was tailing Rico’s van because he was driving erratically.

The van suddenly accelerated, Andre said, and as the officer attempted to catch up, Rico’s van hit Henneken’s car. The collision was recorded on the squad car’s camera.

Police found open beer cans in Rico’s van, Andre said.

His blood alcohol level was .234 following the collision. In Illinois, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher.

An undocumented immigrant without a valid driver’s license who was wanted on a warrant after failing to appear in court on an earlier drunken driving charge, Rico declined to speak during the court appearance.

Rico’s attorney, Barry Lloyd, told Cook County Judge John Scotillo that Rico’s guilty plea was his way of taking responsibility for his actions.

“My client has expressed to me that he is very sorry for what happened,” Lloyd said.
Scotillo scolded Rico for being selfish.

“The only redeeming factor here is your decision to plead guilty, accept responsibility and not put the family through any more emotional trauma,” the judge said.

Rico’s arrest prompted Doug Heaton, a former Elgin Area School District U-46 board member, to ask the Elgin City Council to force the police department to do a better job enforcing immigration policy. Heaton spoke to the council in June 2006, about a month after Henneken’s death.

After Monday’s hearing, Innis said, by all rights, her daughter still should be here today.
“Maybe one of these days the laws will become stricter,” she said. “She had a right to be here. She had a right to be on the road. She had a right to live.”

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why is it ok for them to kill us but we cannot defend ourselves against these animals?

Faye said...

It appears to me that they think an apology is sufficient.

Anonymous said...

We miss you Patti! I think about you all the time and I pray for your family.

Sandy said...

Patricia is my daughter. It has been almost two years now but it seems like yesterday. Not only did Javier Rico (an illegal) take away my only daughter but now we rarely get to see her son. Rico will be able to hug his son in about 5 more years. Meanwhile I visit my daughter at the cemetery. And as he kisses his son goodnight, I will be kissing a picture of Patti and telling her how much my heart hurts because she is gone. Not a day goes by that I don't cry for my daughter and grandson. I have my country to thank for this. They have given the illegals rights that the Americans had to fight and die for. Congress sits back while The Americans are being killed by illegals. Do you think that I could go to Mexico or any other country and kill one of their citizens and live to tell about it? Only in America. Congress has no clue what a family goes through when one of their children is killed by an illegal that has no right being here. My family was torn apart by my country and my country doesn't care.