Alleged DUI driver in fatal crash ‘filled with remorse,’ attorney says
BY STEVE METSCH firstname.lastname@example.org July 10, 2012 11:14AM
Updated: August 12, 2012 6:24AM
An Orland Park man accused of killing a Lockport woman in a Sunday morning crash had traces of marijuana, cocaine, opiates and alcohol in his system at the time of the accident, prosecutors said Tuesday.
After bail was set at $1 million for Matthew Senica, 25, of 13711 S. 88th Ave., his attorney said Senica is “beside himself with grief” and “filled with remorse.”
Senica is charged with felony aggravated DUI in the crash at 95th Street and LaGrange Road that killed Heidi Roseen, 51.
Senica, who has a history of trouble with the law including a previous DUI conviction, also is charged with operating an uninsured vehicle, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, and disobeying a traffic signal. Cook County Judge Maureen Daly set his bail at a hearing at the Bridgeview courthouse.
Senica, who remained in Cook County Jail and is next due in court July 23, “is not a bad kid,” said his attorney, Russell Miller.
“He can’t get over the fact that somebody died. He doesn’t care about himself. He cares about the fact that someone is gone. He’s beside himself with grief. He feels like anybody else would. He’s heartsick,” Miller said.
So is the Roseen family. Heidi, an intensive care unit nurse at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, was driving to work when her sport utility vehicle was hit, police said. She and her husband, Thomas Roseen, have three children, and she had worked at the hospital for more than 30 years.
“The worst things happen to the best people,” son-in-law Rollie Ropp said.
Thomas Roseen, while “satisfied with the bond,” said he finds himself thinking constantly about his wife. Son A.J. Roseen, 21, was pleased the bond was $1 million but added: “It doesn’t change a thing. We can’t bring her back.”
Dirk Samuelson said bail was too good for the man who claimed his sister’s life.
“I’m for hanging him. That works for me,” he said.
After the accident at 6:15 a.m. Sunday, Senica told police he had been drinking since 5 p.m. Saturday, police said.
According to preliminary blood and urine tests, Senica had a combination of marijuana, cocaine and opiates in his system, with a blood-alcohol count “over .08,” assistant state’s attorney Amari Dawson said.
Miller declined comment when asked where Senica had been before the accident.
“No matter what happens, he has to live with this for the rest of his life. His life has been irrevocably changed,” Miller said.
Senica’s gray 2007 Ford F-150 pickup truck ran a red light and hit the 2004 Ford Explorer driven by Roseen, who had the green light and was driving eastbound on 95th Street, Dawson said. The force of the collision slammed Roseen’s vehicle into a guard rail, Dawson said.
Roseen was rushed to Christ Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead, Dawson said. Senica was taken to Palos Community Hospital for treatment of minor injuries, she said.
Senica appeared in court wearing a gray patterned T-shirt and dark pants. After Daly announced the bail, Senica, a 2004 graduate of Stagg High School, briefly peered over his left shoulder at Roseen’s family.
Miller said Senica works as a union carpenter, and he asked for a bail amount that would reflect his ability to pay. As it stands, Senica needs $100,000 to post bond.
“Based on the nature of the events, I’m not surprised by the bail,” Miller said. “Disappointed? Yes. But not surprised. Judge Daly is a very good judge.”
Before setting bail, Daly noted a 2009 conviction for drunken driving and arrests for battery.
In the earlier DUI, Senica successfully served two years probation that ended last year.
Daly said Senica “poses a risk to the public” and ordered him to attend drug and alcohol counseling sessions in jail.
Senica has a history of being in trouble, police said. He has been charged with at least six crimes, ranging from marijuana possession to battery.
After the hearing, the Roseen family recalled a loving mother, daughter and wife.
She grew up as Heidi Samuelson, a few blocks from the Roseen family in Palos Heights. Thomas Roseen graduated from Sandburg High School, where he was on the swim team, in 1976; and Heidi in 1978. They began dating after high school and married in August 1982.
“I’ve lost a wife, lover and mother,” said Thomas Roseen, a truck driver.
Heidi’s mother, Ruth Samuelson, of Orland Park, called her “a good Christian woman.”
Heidi Roseen worked at Christ Medical Center since 1981 after her graduation from the Evangelical School of Nursing. In a prepared statement, Lynn Hennessy, vice president of nursing services at the hospital, said Roseen “made a lasting impression on her patients, nursing peers, doctors and all those with whom she worked throughout her career” and “personified nursing at its best with every patient she encountered.”
Visitation will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Modell Funeral Home, 12641 W. 143rd St. in Homer Glen. A memorial service will begin at 10 a.m. Friday at Ashburn Baptist Church, 15401 S. Wolf Road, Orland Park.