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Aggravated DUI charges dropped against Schmidt

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013 3:26 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013 10:43 a.m. CDT
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(Rob Winner – rwinner@shawmedia.com)
Patricia Schmidt of Sycamore is seen leaving Judge Robbin Stuckert's courtroom at the DeKalb County Courthouse on Wednesday. Schmidt is charged in connection with the Feb. 21, 2011, crash that killed Timothy Getzelman and Alexis Weber.

SYCAMORE – Prosecutors dropped the most serious charges Wednesday against a driver in a crash that killed a local couple in 2011.

Patricia Schmidt, 48, of the 28500 block of Brickville Road in Sycamore, had been charged with aggravated driving under the influence, which carries a sentence of between six and 28 years in prison.

She is expected to stand trial Jan. 27 on charges of reckless homicide and aggravated reckless driving. Reckless homicide carries a possible sentence of probation or between two and five years in prison.

After reviewing the case file, prosecutors decided they could not prove the more serious charges beyond a reasonable doubt, DeKalb County State’s Attorney Richard Schmack said.

“We simply were not going to be able to prove she was under the influence beyond a reasonable doubt,” Schmack said.

Schmidt was charged in connection with the Feb. 21, 2011, crash that killed Timothy T. Getzelman, 21, of Sycamore and Alexis Y. Weber, 21, of Maple Park. Getzelman and Weber were traveling east on Peace Road in Sycamore 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.

The reckless homicide charges allege Schmidt unintentionally killed the couple while driving a vehicle, Schmack said.

Schmack said prosecutors reviewed the decision to drop the aggravated DUI charges with the victims’ families before Wednesday’s court appearance. Both families declined to comment.

Schmidt also waived her right to a jury trial Wednesday, which means Judge Robbin Stuckert will decide whether she is guilty or innocent of each charge. A jury trial had been set to start Sept. 30.

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