(Lake County, IL) Late afternoon, Wednesday, August 16, 2023, a jury trial concluded with a “guilty” verdict on one count of Aggravated Driving with any amount of drug in urine, a class 2 felony.
Brian J. King, 41, was charged after the Lake County Sheriff’s Office conducted an extensive investigation into an Ingleside crash that caused the death of 53-year-old Michael Brennan in June 2021.
“Our team secured justice for Michael through this verdict. I am so proud of the excellent efforts of the Sheriff’s Office, trial prosecutors, and victim-support professionals who all worked together in this heartbreaking case” said State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart after the jury’s decision.
The jury trial began on Monday, August 14, 2023, lasting three days, with both parties resting on Wednesday afternoon. The jury heard from several State witnesses, including law enforcement officers, eyewitnesses, and an expert in forensic toxicology from the Northeastern Illinois Regional Crime Lab.
Eyewitness testimony explained how King traveled on Route 12 and Route 59, repeatedly swerving for approximately 13 miles before eventually approaching Stanton Point Road and hitting Michael Brennan, who was walking on grass and gravel next to the shoulder.
Law enforcement officers also explained how chemical tests were administered to the defendant, which revealed that King’s urine contained Methamphetamine as well as seven other controlled substances.
Medical expert testimony explained how the injuries from the accident led to Brennan’s death on June 16, 2021.
King was being held on $500,000 bond in the Lake County Jail while awaiting his trial. After the verdict, Judge Mark Levitt revoked his ability to post bail.
A sentencing date is set for September 13, 2023, at 1:30 p.m.
Driver Charged and Arrested in 2021 Fatal Crash
Members of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Technical Crash Investigations Team conducted an extensive investigation into this crash, which resulted in the death of Michael Brennan, then 53, of the 36400 block of Hawthorne Lane, Ingleside. The investigation included a detailed examination and analysis of the scene, interviews with witnesses, vehicle inspections, reviewing materials obtained via subpoena, and more.
The investigation revealed as the driver of the Chrysler, Brian J. King, 40, of the 35500 block of Tami Lane, Ingleside, was traveling northbound on Route 59, a witness called 911 to report King was swerving off the roadway while driving. As King approached Stanton Point Road, he continued swerving out of his lane of traffic and struck the pedestrian, Brennan, who was walking on grass and gravel next to the shoulder.
Brennan was initially transported to Advocate Condell Medical Center in critical condition, but subsequently died of his injuries on June 16, 2021.
King was found to have numerous drugs in his system, which were in his system at the time of the crash, causing him to be impaired while driving.
After reviewing all of the evidence and facts surrounding this crash, the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office approved the following charges:
Aggravated Driving with Any Amount of a Drug in Breath, Blood, or Urine (Class 2 Felony)
Aggravated DUI Causing Death (Class 2 Felony)
Reckless Homicide (Class 3 Felony)
An arrest warrant was issued on April 11, 2022, and a Lake County Judge set the bond amount at $500,000.00. King was arrested without incident at his residence later in the day on April 11, 2022. Following a hearing this morning, King remains held in the Lake County Jail on $500,000.00 bail. He is next due in court on May 2, 2022 at 1:30 p.m. in courtroom T020.
Sheriff John D. Idleburg said, “This was a completely preventable tragedy which took the life of an innocent person, because someone made the careless and selfish decision to drive impaired. I am proud of the tenacious effort put in by our traffic crash investigators to bring charges against the offender. I am also thankful for the witness who not only called 911, but stayed at the scene to provide a statement to traffic crash investigators. I hope this conclusion brings the first steps of closure to the Brennan family.”