KENOSHA -- The Illinois man accused of killing three medical professionals from Kenosha in a drunk driving crash reaches a plea deal.
Timothy Vandervere appeared in Kenosha County court on Thursday, Sept. 19 -- and pleaded guilty to three counts of homicide by use of a vehicle and one count of injury/use of vehicle in connection to a crash that killed three prominent residents of Kenosha. On the night of the crash, officials say Vandervere had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .316 -- nearly four times the legal limit.
In exchange for the guilty pleas, the prosecution agreed to have the court dismiss the below charges:
- First degree reckless homicide (three counts)
- Knowingly operate motor vehicle while revoked — causing death of another (three counts)
- Reckless driving causing great bodily harm
- Knowingly operate motor vehicle while revoked — causing great bodily harm
- Operate motor vehicle while revoked
Vandervere's attorney told reporters the 40-year-old was taken responsibility for what happened.
"I believe by entering four guilty pleas to four very serious felony offenses today, that was made very clear in court today," said Matt Last, Vandervere's attorney.
"For these four counts, you could be in prison for up to 132.5 years and fined up to $325,000. Do you understand that?" Judge Bruce Schroeder asked Vandervere in court Thursday.
Vandervere was accused of driving a pickup truck that slammed into an SUV that included four members of the Rizzo family on Friday, April 5. The collision between the truck and the SUV caused the Rizzo’s vehicle to end up in a ditch along Highway 50. Those killed in the wreck included 67-year-old Dr. Michael Rizzo, 74-year-old Mary Rizzo, and 76-year-old Dr. Vincent Rizzo. A fourth family member, Gerald Rizzo, who was driving the vehicle, was hurt.
"As difficult as it is on the Rizzo family, it is just as difficult on the Vandervere family. This is not a situation where anyone is going to be leaving this in a positive manner," Last said.
Vandervere is due back in court Nov. 22 for sentencing. Last said his client may provide a statement at that time.