Tag Archives: Pat Gengler

Williams announces Gengler as undersheriff

KANE COUNTY—Kevin Williams, Republican candidate for Kane County Sheriff, recently announced Aurora resident Pat Gengler as his choice to be undersheriff.

Gengler has over 17 years of service with the Sheriff’s Office and currently serves as the patrol lieutenant and public information officer. He has experience managing patrol operations, investigations, and internal affairs.

In his role as public information officer, he has been able to open the lines of communication between the Sheriff’s Office and the community. A cornerstone of Kevin’s campaign has been to build partnerships with the Kane County community, and having Pat on board with his public relations experience is a vital link to making it all work.

Gengler also has experience in labor management relations, serving as a past union vice president and as a member of the Sheriff’s negotiations team. Pat’s tireless work ethic and ability to “get things done” has earned him the respect of his co-workers within the Sheriff’s Office, as well as other agencies throughout Kane County.

According to Williams, it was never a secret that he wanted Pat to serve as his undersheriff, should the voters choose him to become the next sheriff of Kane County. He believes Gengler shares the same energy and passion for serving the citizens of Kane County, and also understands that the most important asset of the office are the employees, and in order to succeed the Sheriff’s Office must build a professional team that understands the needs of Kane County residents.

Rescued horses continue recovery

by Cheryl Borrowdale
MAPLE PARK—By the time the Kane County Sheriff’s deputy arrived to evict Richard and Monica Goshen from their rental home in Maple Park on Jan. 11, one of the Goshens’ horses was dead.

The body of a black filly—perhaps a year old—lay on the floor of the barn, her hair matted and filthy. Two more mares stood nearby, one so emaciated that her ribcage was clearly outlined under her hair and her hip bones jutted out.

And as 18 people, including landlords Henry and Arlona Fredrickson, moved the Goshens’ belongings out of 8N215 McGough Road and alongside the edge of the road—piling everything from chairs to ladders to a Polaris snowmobile into a great stream of debris—Kane County Sheriff’s Deputy Jim Seidelman called Kane County Animal Control and the Hooved Animal Humane Society (HAHS) of Woodstock, Ill., to rescue two more horses.

It was the end of a court-ordered eviction of the Goshens, a lengthy process that started in October 2012 when the Fredricksons began proceedings for non-payment of rent, but it was also the beginning of an Animal Control investigation into potential animal cruelty. No charges have been filed, but Animal Control forwarded the case to the Kane County State’s Attorney in February.

The Goshens moved into the house in Maple Park in September 2011. Richard, who is originally from Red Rock, Texas, calls himself “Tex” and owns a contracting business called Carpentry Plus. A Texas federal court convicted him of conspiracy to manufacture narcotics—methamphetamine—in 2005 and sentenced him to 30 months in prison, with credit for time served, and three years’ probation; the court later extended his probation to ten years.

In a voicemail message, Richard said that no horses had been rescued from his home in Maple Park.

“I have no clue what you’re talking about. I have all my horses, no horses were rescued, and I ride them every day,” he said in the message. Subsequent attempts to contact him were unsuccessful.

Yet according to police, the Goshens originally had six horses on the property, as well as several pigs, a chicken and a peacock, but the couple took three of the horses and the other animals with them. The three horses they left behind—one dead, one emaciated and one in good health—were “strays” that they couldn’t take with them, Richard told Seidelman, according to the police report.

“A case like this, obviously we don’t know what happened,” Lt. Pat Gengler of the Kane County Sheriff’s Office said. “We have a deceased horse, but we don’t know how that horse died, and as police officers, we’re not qualified to determine how it died.”

The filly had been dead for a day or so by the time the eviction began on Jan. 11. Henry Fredrickson said he found the carcass inside his barn, near the automatic watering tank.

“You could tell that it had thrashed around quite a bit at the end,” he said. “It was laying flat on its side; looked very thin. The hair was pretty gruff. The two ladies who came out (from HAHS) for it, they were able to tip it over by themselves. It didn’t weigh a lot.”

The other two horses were in the same barn, Fredrickson said, but there was no food within their reach when he arrived to help evict the Goshens. Two bags of alfalfa feed were in another room, “isolated away from the animals,” he said, and a half-bag of feed was given to the two surviving horses while Seidelman called Animal Control and the HAHS.

Though the dead filly and one of the surviving mares were emaciated, whether the animals were starving or suffering from another health condition is the subject of Animal Control’s investigation. Tom Schlueter, the Kane County Health Department’s public relations officer, said no information about the investigation has been released because the case is ongoing. The State’s Attorney’s office had no comment.

In the days leading up to the eviction, Seidelman made two unannounced visits to the property—one on Jan. 8, the other on Jan. 10. On both occasions, he reported, all six horses were standing in the pasture and eating.

“I saw food in the pasture, and although the two younger horses appeared thin, they were eating,” Seidelman reported. “Richard (Goshen) said that he thought they might have worms or some other medical problem, and they were not gaining weight.”

The dead horse was autopsied by veterinarian Jane Davis on behalf of Animal Control, though she said she was not authorized to release the results. Both surviving horses were immediately evaluated by a different veterinarian when they arrived at the HAHS facility in Woodstock.

“One of the horses was in very bad condition,” said Tracy McGonigle, executive director of the HAHS. “Our vet scored her as a 1.5 on a 9-point body condition scale, and that scale goes from 1, (which is) extremely emaciated or near death, to 9, (which is) overweight. The horse was weak, and she actually was pretty friendly. She’s a nice horse.”

The other surviving horse scored a 4 on the body condition scale—a score of 5 is the ideal weight for a horse—and McGonigle said it was clear that at least one of the animals had access to food.

Though McGonigle said that it didn’t appear that the thinner horse had received “adequate nutrition,” she cautioned that several health conditions can cause horses to lose weight or have difficulty eating.

“Starvation is a rule-out diagnosis,” she said. “Blood tests have to rule out any underlying diseases, like cancer, that may cause problems. It appears she just wasn’t given adequate food, but you can’t just look at a horse and say, ‘Oh, that’s why.’”

Blood tests performed by HAHS veterinarians ruled out cancer and other illnesses, McGonigle said, though the horse did have mild leukocytosis, a white blood cell count above the normal range, which she said was frequently a sign of an inflammatory response to an infection or to emotional stress. The tests also showed the horse was slightly dehydrated and had low glucose levels. The mare also had a significant heart murmur, something that McGonigle said was sometimes found in animals with poor nutrition.

“So far, it doesn’t look like there was anything underlying. It just appears that she wasn’t getting enough food,” McGonigle said.

The horse, which has been on a refeeding program since it arrived at the HAHS facility, is now out of the acute danger period, she said.

“She’s been gaining weight, and (is) double blanketed because of this (cold) weather,” McGonigle said. “She’s still in danger, but she’s not in an acute danger period any more. Usually, I really get scared about seven days after we start refeeding them, because you lose a lot of them at that point because it taxes the organs a lot. But so far, so good.”

She expects both animals to be fully rehabilitated and eventually adopted, though it may take up to a year before the weaker of the two is healthy enough.

The HAHS regularly takes in horses suffering from starvation and is currently caring for 58 horses, McGonigle said. She estimates that food and basic veterinary care for each horse costs $3,292 annually. Those costs are why the HAHS has seen an increase in the number of cases since the recession began.

“The hay prices, people who may not know how to properly care for horses, the economy, people losing jobs and not being able to afford horses, all of these contribute,” McGonigle said. “I am purchasing hay right now for $7 a bale, and a horse eats a bale a day. The average cost of caring for a horse is $737 a year, and that’s just the basics—trimming their hooves every six to eight weeks, worming and deworming them, etc. That doesn’t include the cost of food.”

The HAHS accepts donations to help fund their care of abandoned and rescued horses. Anyone interested in donating, volunteering at their facility or adopting a rescued horse can visit www.hahs.org for more information.

KC Sheriff’s Office to begin prescription drug drop-off program

by Keith Beebe
KANE COUNTY—Do you have any unused prescription medication in your home? If so, there’s something you can do with that medication instead of flushing it down the toilet or letting it sit idly on the counter.

The Kane County Sheriff’s Office asks that people dispose of their unused prescription medication in the drug drop-off box located in the lobby of the sheriff’s office, 38W755 Route 38 in St. Charles.

According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s website, abuse of prescription medication is the nation’s fastest-growing drug problem. Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health suggests that teenagers who used drugs for the first time in 2009 began with prescription medication. Prescription drug use is popular among teens who view the medication to be safer than synthetic drugs such as cocaine and heroin.

The drug drop-off box is also a safer alternative to simply throwing prescription medication in the trash or flushing it down the toilet.

“The issue of prescription drug abuse is something that is catching national attention, and one of the ways people obtain these drugs are from unused meds that people have around their house,” said Kane County Sheriff’s Lt. Pat Gengler. “These drop boxes provide citizens a safe and easy way to dispose of their unused meds. It also prevents them from making their way into our waterways from people flushing them down the drain because they do not know what else to do with them.”

The drop-off box is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. All prescription medication will be accepted, but syringes are not to be placed in the disposal container.

Office of Professional Standards determines claims against deputy are unfounded

by Keith Beebe
ELBURN—Three months after an incident in which an Elburn resident said he was assaulted by an off-duty Kane County Sheriff’s Deputy, the department’s Office of Professional Standards has determined that the allegations against the deputy are unfounded.

“Our Office of Professional Standards investigated the incident and found that the facts of the investigation do not support a finding of wrongdoing against our deputy,” Kane County Sheriff Lieutenant Pat Gengler said.

The incident occurred on June 10, when Elburn resident Michael Kowalczyk, 37, encountered an off-duty Kane County Sheriff’s Deputy following a minor two-car collision that Kowalczyk was involved in. Kowalczyk said that the off-duty deputy, wearing street clothes, reached under his pant leg to withdraw a gun as he approached Kowalczyk, yelling for him to not move.

Another Kane County Sheriff Deputy—this one on duty—soon arrived at the scene and placed Kowalczyk in the back of his squad car while he spoke with the off-duty deputy. Kowalcyzk was then interviewed by the on-duty deputy following the incident, and was issued two citations for improper lane usage and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

Kowalczyk said he was unable to get an order of protection or file charges against the deputy following the incident, and would soon be pursuing legal representation, which he has since obtained.

Local, state police join to make Route 47 safer

by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—Officers from the Kane County Sheriff, Sugar Grove, Waubonsee Community College and Illinois State Police departments are working together on a two-and-a-half-week joint traffic enforcement that started Sept. 7 along the Route 47 corridor from Main Street in Sugar Grove to Blackberry Township.

The joint traffic detail, which will remain active until Sept. 24, is a response to the several serious and fatal automobile accidents that have occurred on Route 47, including an April 14, 2010, collision near Waubonsee Community College (WCC) that claimed the lives of two North Aurora teenagers.

“All the (local) agencies came together to discuss possible solutions to the traffic flow in front of the college, and this is part of an education (and) enforcement initiative to raise public awareness (along the corridor),” Kane County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Pat Gengler said. “There have been several serious crashes on Route 47, and we hope people will become more aware.”

To step up enforcement along the local Route 47 corridor, officers from the four agencies are working that stretch of road at the same time and are able to communicate on several different radio frequencies.

The Sheriff’s Department is dedicating at least one deputy per shift to the concentrated enforcement effort, Gengler said.

The law enforcement agencies timed the joint traffic detail to coincide with the start of WCC’s fall semester, when traffic in the area increases. Gengler hopes the joint traffic detail will promote safe driving along the corridor and educate local drivers of just how dangerous Route 47 can be.

“Route 47 looks like a country road in most places but has a high volume of traffic, and does allow for an increase in speed, along with a (fluctuation) from two to four lanes or four to two lanes,” he said.

Rash of burglaries in Kaneville

Investigation under way, tips welcome
by Martha Quetsch
(originally posed May 3, 2010; updated May 6, 2010)

KANEVILLE—Elio Rizzi, 4, recently spent about a week in the hospital, and his mom promised him he could ride his dirt bike after he got home. Unfortunately, the bike was stolen in one of 12 burglaries that took place in Kaneville at the end of April.

Excited to ride his bike, Elio went out to the backyard shed on April 30 where it was stored, but it wasn’t there, and neither were his two brothers’ dirt bikes.

“He came running back and said, ‘It’s gone. They’re all gone,’” said his mom, Tracy Rizzi.

Someone had broken into the shed and taken the dirt bikes, as well as several tools, during the night. Rizzi said she knows that is when the burglary took place, because the boys had washed their bikes the previous afternoon.

The Rizzis, who live at 2S368 Harter Road, found out from neighbors and the Kane County Sheriff’s Department that many other sheds and garages in the area had been burglarized around the same time.

“We were just disgusted,” Rizzi said.

Sheriff’s Department Lt. Pat Gengler said that 11 incidents of burglaries to private property in a Kaneville neighborhood were reported on April 30, all of them occurring sometime in the early morning hours before daylight. Another burglary was reported to have occurred between April 24 and 29 in the same area.

In addition, on Wednesday morning, a resident reported that someone stole a four-wheeler and a lawn sprayer from his garage in the 2S300 block of Locust Street. Gengler said investigators were trying to determine when this burglary occurred.

Sheriff’s investigators believe all 13 burglaries may have been committed by the same perpetrators.

“They are in the exact same geographical area, so we are definitely looking into them as possibly related,” Gengler said.

Four Kane County Sheriff’s Department officers responded to the residents reports on April 30, and officers have been interviewing each victim since then. Gengler said the officers who patrol that area of the county were alerted about the incidents and will step up their patrolling there as much as possible.

Following are the burglaries for which Gengler had reports as of the Elburn Herald’s press time on Wednesday.
• Two tires were stolen from a trailer parked in a driveway in the 46W600 block of Elm Street sometime between April 24 and 27.
• Someone broke the lock on the door of a shed in the 46W600 block of Elm Street sometime between 9 p.m. April 29 and 4 p.m. April 30. Nothing was taken.
• Someone broke into a home in the 2S200 block of Locust Court, an officer discovered when in Kaneville investigating the other burglaries on April 30. A resident told the officer that he saw a light on in the home, which was a foreclosed, vacant home. The officer went to the house and found a door open.
• A Moped was stolen from a shed in the 46W500 block of Locust Street, sometime between 10 p.m. April 29 and 8 a.m. April 30. Officers found no sign of forced entry.
• A Honda lawnmower and a go-cart were stolen from an unlocked shed in the 46W600 block of Locust Street sometime betweem 8 p.m. April 29 and 8 a.m. April 30.
• A Honda dirt bike was stolen from an unlocked shed in the 2S200 block of Elm Court sometime between 3 and 5 a.m. April 30. The burglary was reported on May 1.

Other burglaries were to sheds and garages at the following addresses: One incident each in the 46W800 block of Elm St., the 2S300 block of Elm Court, the 46W600 block of Harter Road, and the 2S300 block of Dauberman Road; and two incidents in the 2S200 block of Elm Court. Tools, machinery and other items were stolen.

Lt. Gengler said sheriff’s officers are investigating the burglaries but have made no arrests. He asked that anyone with information they believe is related to the burglaries call the Sheriff’s Department investigations office at (630) 208-2024 or the crime hotline in the evening at (630) 232-6840.

“Anything can be useful in these types of situations, even if you noticed something in the neighborhood a week ago that didn’t seem right,” Gengler said.

Photo: Elio (left) and Otto Rizzi no longer have dirt bikes, since someone stole them April 30 from their shed. Their dad, Brett, had this sign made for the family’s front yard on Harter Road, announcing a cash reward for information on who burglarized his and 12 other properties in Kaneville. Courtesy Photo

2 dead as plane crashes in Sugar Grove

updated 1-28-10
by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove Fire Chief Marty Kunkel was the first responder to the scene of a plane crash in Sugar Grove Township on Saturday evening.

The plane was a twin-engine Piper Aerostar, and had just taken off from the Aurora Municipal Airport headed for Denver.

Kunkel said he was in his garage at about 7 p.m. when he heard the sound of a plane flying low to the ground just before impact. He said he remembered noting that the weather was cloudy and foggy.

He said the sound of the crash was so loud that it rattled the windows in his house. After calling dispatch, he grabbed his coat, expecting to find the plane in his back yard.

Two doors down, he found that the plane had crashed into the garage of a residence north of 43W420 Old Oak Road near Route 47.

“There was flaming debris down the side of the house and a massive amount of debris in the area,” he said.

A couple of Sugar Grove police officers arrived at the scene, including one who was also a Geneva firefighter. Once they made sure that all of the occupants were out of the house, they extinguished the fire.

The people in the house included the wife of the couple who owned the house, her mother and her two children.

“The crash had so severely detonated the plane that there was no chance for survivors,” Kunkel said.

The pilot and his passenger were killed. The pilot, 37-year-old Gary Lee Bradford of Hollywood, Fla., was an instrument-rated pilot, Aurora Airport Director Bob Rieser said. His passenger, 32-year-old Drago Strahija, was from Lakeworth, Fla.

The two men had stopped in Texas prior to coming to the area on Friday night. They spent the night before taking off for Denver on Saturday.

The NTSB and FAA are continuing the investigation into the crash. There are no details available at this time regarding why the plane crashed or the events that led up to the crash. Route 47 was closed between Bliss and Merrill roads from 7 until 11:30 p.m.

“It was a very unfortunate accident,” Rieser said. “It was very fortunate that nobody on the ground got hurt.”

Marengo man dies in 2-car crash near SG

Elburn driver ticketed just before accident
by Martha Quetsch
An Elburn woman involved in a fatal crash March 20 near Sugar Grove was ticketed for improper lane use less than nine minutes earlier on Route 38 and Pouley Road, according to the Kane County Sheriff’s Department.

The Sheriff’s Department is investigating the two-vehicle fatal accident on Route 47 near Merrill Road that was reported at 5:36 p.m. Sheriff’s deputies, along with Sugar Grove Police and Kane County Forest Preserve Police, responded to the scene, where individuals were reported trapped in the vehicles, Sheriff’s Lt. Pat Gengler said.

The initial investigation indicates that a yellow Chevy S-10 pickup was traveling south on Route 47 and crossed into the oncoming northbound lane of traffic colliding head on with a Ford Windstar, Gengler said.

The driver of the pickup, Linda L. Knotts, 44, of the 300 block of Dempsey Drive in Elburn, was airlifted to Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove with apparent non-life-threatening injuries. The driver of the Ford, William J. McKenzie, 54, of the 400 block of North State Street in Marengo, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Route 47 was closed temporarily between Scott and Harter roads for the investigation. The Kane County Accident Reconstruction Team is assisting SheriffՉ۪s Detectives with the investigation.

It is unclear if drugs or alcohol played a role in the crash, Gengler said.

Between the time of Knotts’ first ticket and the crash, at 5:34 p.m., the Sheriff’s Department received a call about someone driving recklessly in a yellow pickup southbound on Route 47 near I-88, Gengler said.

After the accident, Knotts was ticketed for illegal passing, failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident, and driving in the wrong lane.

The charges against Knotts are not a proof of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The Sheriff’s Department asks that anyone with information relating to this crash to call Detective Sal Rodriguez at (630) 208-2030.

Pair charged with firing at moving vehicle

by Lynn Meredith
An adult and a juvenile turned themselves in after being charged with firing shots into a moving vehicle in unincorporated Maple Park. No one in the car was injured. The two were charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm, reckless discharge of a firearm and possession of a firearm without a firearm owner’s identification card. The adult male was further charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

On Jan. 31, Kane County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report that a vehicle may have been struck by an object in the area of 9N046 McGough Road in rural Maple Park. They discovered that a bullet had struck the driver’s side front fender.

The officers spoke to James A. Thorne, 18, of 9N046 McGough Road and located a .22 caliber rifle at his residence. Deputies further identified a 15-year old male from Sycamore who was at the residence at the time of the incident.

Thorne turned himself into the Sheriff’s Department on Feb. 23. His bond has been set at $35,000. Lt. Pat Gengler of the Kane County Sheriff’s Department said the charges were bumped up to reckless discharge of a firearm because there were people in the car.

The Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office has referred the 15-year-old’s case to Juvenile Court Services.

Fortune smiles as woman escapes collision with train

by Lynn Meredith

A woman and her dog narrowly escaped a collision with a Union Pacific train when her car slid to a stop on the railroad tracks at the Meredith Road railroad crossing near Route 38 on Friday. Her red Pontiac Grand Am was struck by the train and carried along until the train could stop. Fortunately, Julie Nortman and her Belgian Schiekeepe got out of the car in time.

Nortman, of Aurora, was headed north on Meredith Road. She described the roads as snow packed and icy.

“I saw the crossing guards come down and the lights come on,” Nortman said. “I wasn’t going to crash into them, so I turned the car to the left toward the ditch. But with all the snow, I slid onto the tracks.”

As she tried to go forward and then back to free the right side of her car that was stuck on the tracks, she could hear the train blowing its horn.

“I thought about staying in the car, and I thought about getting out. Then something told me to get out,” Nortman said. “I undid my seat belt and jumped out and got my dog out. Actually, he jumped out on his own. It was fortunate because I might not have gotten him out in time.”

Nortman had the wherewithal to grab his leash so that he wouldn’t run onto the tracks of the approaching train.

The crash occurred at 9:15 a.m. The train was a local freight train serving businesses between West Chicago and Troy Grove in La Salle County. The accident closed the railroad line until 11:50 a.m., when the vehicle was removed from the track, according to Mark Davis of Union Pacific Railroad.

“She was very fortunate to be able to get out,” Lt. Pat Gengler of the Kane County Sheriff’s Department said.

No ticket was issued.

As for Nortman, she said that thinking about the incident still bothers her. She avoids the Meredith Road crossing and sticks to Route 47 on her daily route.

“I won’t travel on Meredith Road anymore this winter,” she said. “Now I go on (Route) 47, but there’s still tracks there. I have a paranoia that possibly a train is coming.”

Nortman may have lost her car in the crash, but she and her dog are safe.

“At first I was sad because of my car. Then I thanked God that it was not me in there and not my dog in there,” Norman said.