'I am deeply distraught': Lombard man gets 6 months in jail for fatal Oak Brook crash

  • Todd Heidenthal

    Todd Heidenthal

 
 
Updated 3/12/2021 4:37 PM
A previous version reported prosecutors had agreed to a sentence-recommendation cap.

A Lombard man was sentenced Friday to six months in jail for killing a woman in a crash when he passed in a no-passing zone.

DuPage County Judge Daniel Guerin also sentenced Todd Heidenthal, 50, to 30 months of probation and to undergo anger-management treatment, according to court records.

 

The 2019 crash killed Florence Hsiao, 78, of Westmont.

"I am deeply distraught," Heidenthal told Guerin during a presentencing hearing Wednesday. "I wish that I could change things. I had no intent on harming anybody that day."

Heidenthal said he would understand if Hsiao's daughter couldn't forgive him.

Defense attorney Rick Kayne said Heidenthal has been in therapy since the crash, including electrical shock treatment, to understand why he was so mad that day and did what he did. Kayne requested probation.

Prosecutor Lee Roupas requested a five-year sentence.

"It was a tragic and needless loss because of this defendant's reckless conduct on Nov. 8, 2019," Roupas said Wednesday. "His decision on that day, on that morning, he wasn't going to care about anybody else."

Oak Brook detective Scott Warren testified Heidenthal was northbound on Midwest Road with another car behind him. Both turned left on to 35th Street, and the other driver passed him.

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Heidenthal tried to pass him, on an incline marked with double-yellow lines. Warren said the computer in Heidenthal's car showed it was going 56 mph at the time of the crash.

Hsiao was driving west. Her car spun around, her air bag deployed, and her windshield was cracked, Warren testified. He said she was not wearing a seat belt.

Janet Hsiao said her mother had grit. She was born in China. Her father served as a translator for the Flying Tigers 1st American Volunteer Group with the Republic of China Air Force during World War II, then emigrated to the United States, leaving Hsiao and his wife behind. Hsiao's mother served 29 years as a prisoner mining gold, while Hsiao was raised by an uncle. Hsiao became a nurse, emigrated at age 40 to the United States, married and had her only child. Her husband was abusive, and Hsiao left him to raise her daughter alone.

"I don't hate you," Janet Hsiao told Heidenthal. "My mom had plenty of reasons to let hate and rejection rule her life. But she chose love and hope."

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