RACINE COUNTY — Five felony charges, including three for second-degree recklessly endangering safety, were filed this week against a 31-year-old DeKalb, Ill., woman, that stems from a drunk driving crash in August of 2021.
Katerri Oneal faces a possible maximum prison term of 10 years and a fine of $25,000 for each of the second-degree recklessly endangering safety charges. In addition, Oneal is charged with felony operating while intoxicated causing injury and felony operating with a prohibited alcohol content causing injury, which each carries six years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The criminal complaint: drunk driving results in head-on collision
Police were dispatched to I-94 on Aug. 22, 2021, for a report of a head-on collision between two vehicles, one that had been traveling the wrong way on the freeway. Police observed the defendant’s Kia Soul with major front-end damage. Oneal was trapped inside when officers arrived.
The second vehicle, a Chevrolet Equinox, had four occupants and sustained side damage. The driver stated she was driving northbound when she saw the defendant’s vehicle coming toward her. The driver said she attempted to swerve, but was unable to do so completely.
A witness told police she saw the Kia traveling southbound in the northbound lane at about 90 mph without its headlights before it crashed into the Equinox.
Police detected an odor of intoxicants from the defendant, who stated she could not feel her leg. Oneal didn’t know she was in Wisconsin and didn’t recognize she had been driving the wrong way, the complaint states.
Once she was extricated from the vehicle, the defendant was transported to a hospital via Flight for Life. A deputy later spoke with her, and she admitted she had been drinking. The deputy also observed she had slurred speech and was drifting in and out of consciousness.
A legal blood draw was performed and later came back with a blood alcohol content of 0.170. Court records show the defendant has one previous drunken driving conviction in Illinois.
Oneal, who is free on a $1,000 cash bond, is due back in Racine County Circuit Court for a preliminary hearing on March 22, at 9 a.m.
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