McHenry man who caused fatal 1999 crash gets 30 months for second DUI
A McHenry man convicted in 1999 of killing a 32-year-old man while drunken driving in Lake County was sentenced Wednesday to 30 months in prison and six months of probation for driving under the influence in 2021 in Spring Grove.
In January, Mark C. Jensen, 48, entered a blind guilty plea to aggravated driving under the influence with a prior reckless homicide.
Additional charges of aggravated driving under the influence, possession of 30 to 100 grams of marijuana and possession of unsecured marijuana in a vehicle were dismissed.
The charge he was convicted of typically carries a prison term of two to five years and also is probational. However, due to his past conviction, he was not eligible for probation or conditional discharge, McHenry County Judge James Cowlin said during sentencing.
On Sept. 27, 1998, Jensen caused a crash at the intersection of Route 41 and Buckley Road in North Chicago that resulted in the death of a 32-year-old Maywood man.
Jensen, required to serve 50% of his prison term, also is required to pay about $2,500 in fines and fees, Cowlin said.
Before learning of Jensen's sentence, John Thomas, a longtime friend of Jensen's father, described Jensen as "a remarkable kid" and told the judge, "I don't think this is prison material. He's a good kid, your honor."
Jensen's attorney Daniel Hoffman said since Jensen successfully served his four-year probation following his previous conviction, he has led a law-abiding life, built a successful business and is responsible for supporting his and others' families.
Hoffman asked Jensen be sentenced to 24 months in prison.
"This is a case appropriate for the minimum sentence," Hoffman said.
Assistant State's Attorney Brian Miller asked Jensen be sentenced to four years in prison.
"Maybe four years in prison might make the point this time," Miller said. "Maybe this will convince him."
Miller said when Jensen was arrested, people had called police reporting that his vehicle was crossing over the centerline of the road and he was "driving erratically."
Jensen also spoke to the judge and apologized. He said that since his 1999 conviction, he has "tried to be a good person" and always helps people.
"I know I made a mistake, and I'm sorry," Jensen said. "I'll try to be a better person."
Cowlin noted that "by all accounts" Jensen seems like a good friend, family man and member of the community but said that night could have ended with "horrific casualties."