Carol Stream man who killed teen in 2000 crash going back to prison

  • Richard Gancarz

    Richard Gancarz

Updated 10/9/2019 9:42 AM
The name of Assistant State’s Attorney James Scaliatine appeared incorrectly in previous versions of this story.

A Carol Stream man who spent 11 years in prison for killing a 17-year-old in a 2000 crash in Wood Dale is going back to prison.

Richard Gancarz, 62, was sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison for driving while his license was revoked in 2016.


Gancarz, who pleaded guilty in March, told DuPage County Judge Brian Telander he was driving on Aug. 23, 2016 -- just 23 days after his parole ended -- because his wife was having a medical problem.

She had picked him from work and was driving him to his mother's birthday party, when her legs began to spasm due to recent knee-replacement surgeries, he said. She was having trouble using the brake and he feared she would run a red light. He told her to pull off the road and they switched places.

"It was wrong ... I take full responsibility," he said. "I just thought I was looking out for her."

"It's way beyond bad judgment. There were so many other options open to you," Telander told him.

Gancarz also was sentenced to three years in prison for another case of driving on a revoked license in November 2016. Gancarz said he was driving to the Meijer store in Bloomingdale to pick up a prescription for his wife.

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The two sentences will be served concurrently. He will have to serve at least half the time before being eligible for parole.

Assistant State's Attorney James Scaliatine asked Telander for a seven-year sentence.

Over the past 39 years, he said, Gancarz has been charged nine times for driving with a suspended or revoked license, plus leaving the scene of an accident, reckless driving, driving under the influence of alcohol, and driving on a duplicate driver's license.

In 2000, Gancarz, who was driving a truck, broadsided a Chevrolet Camaro being driven by 17-year-old Aric Wooley of Schaumburg. Gancarz was driving on a suspended license related to charges of driving under the influence.

He was convicted of aggravated driving under the influence of drugs. At the time, the prosecution's toxicology experts proved he had been high on marijuana, with one expert saying the levels of THC in Gancarz blood were so high he must have smoked marijuana within an hour before the crash.

Wooley's stepmother, Charlene Wooley, attended Tuesday's hearing.

"I'm glad he's going to prison, but I don't think he is going to learn anything," she said of Gancarz. "The past speaks for itself. It doesn't bring back my son."

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