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Johnsburg man receives prison sentence for DUI in connection with fatal crash

Christian M. Heaney, 47, of the 3700 block of Windmere Lane, Johnsburg
Christian M. Heaney, 47, of the 3700 block of Windmere Lane, Johnsburg

Two years after a drunken driving crash claimed the life of a 26-year-old motorcyclist, a collection of ashes inside a cremation necklace is one of the few things that the victim’s mother has left of her son, she said.

On Thursday, a McHenry County judge sentenced Christian M. Heaney, 47, of the 3700 block of Windmere Lane, Johnsburg, to five years in prison in connection with the crash that killed Steven Thomas of Richmond.

Heaney must complete at least 85 percent of the sentence before he can begin serving a subsequent two years of parole, Judge James Cowlin ordered.

Thomas’ mother, Becky Thomas, cried Thursday as she read a victim statement to the judge and wondered aloud how someone could be “so selfish” to drink and drive.

“The loss has changed so much for me and my family,” she said.

Emergency crews responded
Aug. 10, 2016, to Route 12
 near the Depot Restaurant after a report of a crash involving a motorcycle and an SUV. Heaney was driving a Range Rover south near where Route 12 turns into Route 31 at Tryon Grove Road.

The crash happened while Heaney was making a left turn and collided with the left side of Steven Thomas’ motorcycle, according to a wrongful death lawsuit Becky Thomas filed against Heaney in 2017.

Heaney initially was uncooperative with police who investigated the crash, Spring Grove police officer Kevin Freese said. Heaney claimed to be an “important person in this town” and asked officers if they could just “make this all go away” and drive him home, Freese testified.

A blood test revealed that Heaney had a blood-alcohol content of
0.260 percent, prosecutors said.

Since the crash, Heaney has attended alcoholics anonymous meetings and has struggled with remorse as a result of Steven Thomas’ death, he said.

“My heart is broken over the loss of a young man,” Heaney said.

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