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Schmidt to seek bench trial in Sycamore fatal crash

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013 3:26 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013 11:13 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Provided photo)
Patricia Schmidt, charged with two counts of reckless homicide and two counts of aggravated reckless driving in a Feb. 21, 2011 car crash that killed Timothy Getzelman and Alexis Weber.

SYCAMORE – A Sycamore woman charged in the a 2011 crash that killed two 21-year-olds is expected to ask a judge – not a jury – to determine her fate.

Patricia Schmidt, 48, of the 28500 block of Brickville Road, is expected to waive her right to a jury trial at a hearing Sept. 4 and ask for a bench trial, which means a judge would determine her guilt or innocence on each charge.

Schmidt had been scheduled to stand trial Sept. 30 on charges of aggravated driving under the influence, reckless homicide and reckless driving. In light of this change, a new trial date likely will be set, although DeKalb County Presiding Judge Robbin Stucker made no indication if the trial would be moved up or delayed at a hearing Tuesday.

Schmidt was not at the hearing because of a medical issue.

She is charged in connection with the Feb. 21, 2011, crash that killed Timothy T. Getzelman of Sycamore and Alexis Y. Weber of Maple Park. The couple had been dating for four years.

Getzelman and Weber were traveling east on Peace Road in Sycamore about 5:30 p.m. when Schmidt, driving south on North Main Street, struck Getzelman’s vehicle on the driver’s side, authorities said. Witnesses told police Getzelman had the right of way.

Authorities found multiple prescription drugs in Schmidt’s blood, including the anti-anxiety drug lorazepam, phenobarbital, mephobarbital and three others.

Prosecutors have said evidence suggests that Schmidt suffered a seizure or blackout in the crash and that they plan to argue that her medications were never at an appropriate level to drive. Schmidt's defense attorney, Gregg Smith, previously said a doctor told her not to drive until her medications were under control after a seizure in 2007.

If convicted of the most serious charge of aggravated driving under the influence, Schmidt could be sentenced to between six and 28 years in prison.

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