Crime & Courts

73-year-old Woodstock man gets probation in DUI crash

Hoffman Estates motorcyclist said his life hasn't been the same since he was struck in 2016

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WOODSTOCK – Rhonda and Scott Gherardini hoped to spend their retirement driving cross-country in a van, but that plan was dashed when Scott and his motorcycle were struck by a drunken driver in July 2016.

Robert Harney of Woodstock was sentenced Wednesday to two years of probation for aggravated driving under the influence after crashing into the then-51-year-old Scott Gherardini and his parked Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Gherardini survived the crash, but he continues to experience memory loss and other lasting effects, he wrote in a statement read by his wife Wednesday.

“He hit me and my bike so hard that my motorcycle was completely totaled and wedged under his truck,” Scott Gherardini wrote.

On July 31, 2016, Harney, who was 72 at the time, rear-ended Gherardini with his 2006 Chevy Suburban while driving south on Route 47 in Woodstock, police said.

The crash caused the motorcycle to hit a 2013 Chevy Tahoe in front of it, and Gherardini was taken by Flight for Life to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville.

“I know it’s only by the grace of God that my husband is alive today,” Rhonda Gherardini said in court Wednesday.

The Gherardinis worried that Harney’s age might sway the judge from handing down what they felt would be a harsh enough sentence, and they said his age is only an indication that he “should have known better.”

McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather assured the couple that Harney’s age had nothing to do with his sentence, but the man would not serve time in prison because of his clean record, she said.

In addition to probation, Harney will be required to complete more than
100 hours of public service. His license will be revoked, and he will be barred from having any alcohol or drugs while he serves his sentence. He also must attend DUI treatment and pay $7,565 in fines and court costs.

Before court adjourned, Harney addressed the Gherardinis directly.

“I’m horribly, horribly sorry,” he said. “... That was the worst day of my life, absolutely.”