Police intend to question man in one-vehicle fatal crash

Michael Smothers GateHouse Media Illinois

PEKIN — Police intend to question the driver in a one-vehicle crash that killed his passenger early July 13 before prosecutors decide whether felony charges are warranted in the case.

Jacob Lehmkuhl, 22, of Eureka spent two days in a Tazewell County Justice Center cell following his arrest for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol after the accident.

It was his third DUI arrest over the past two years. He posted bond July 15 and was released, according to jail officials.

“Other than a cursory interview at the hospital,” where Lehmkuhl received treatment before he was taken to jail, “he’s not yet been interviewed,” East Peoria Police Sgt. Brian Despines said July 15.

“We’re at the preliminary stage” of the investigation that will determine whether more serious charges are warranted, he said.

The felony crime of aggravated DUI causing death is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

Matthew McDonald Jr., 23, of 110 Floss Mar Court, Apt. 5, died at the scene of the crash at Meadow Avenue at Pleasant Hill Road. Police found him pinned under the side of the vehicle when they arrived at the scene at about 1:30 a.m.

Lehmkuhl was driving east on Meadow when he apparently lost control of the vehicle, Despines said. Full details of the accident, including whether the occupants were wearing seat belts, won’t be released until results of the accident

investigation are turned over to the county State’s Attorney’s Office, he said.

Lehmkuhl was “located in the area” and was cited with DUI as well as failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. He is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 19 on those charges.

At the time of the fatal accident, he was awaiting prosecution on a misdemeanor DUI charge and a traffic citation for reckless driving that were issued in April, according to court records.

Lehmkuhl also served 12 months of court supervision for a DUI conviction he received in May 2012, according to court records.