Driver in Crash that Killed TV Anchor Heads to Prison

Looks like one Chicago area man didn't learn his lesson even after killing his friend.

Scott Hirschey, who in 2008 drunkenly crashed a snowmobile in Wisconsin, killing a Chicago TV news anchor, was sentenced to two years in prison on Friday for a later DUI.

Hirschey, 50, was charged with drunken driving in Crystal Lake in July 2012, just around the time he was due to complete a three-year probation sentence for the snowmobile crash that killed his longtime friend and passenger, WBBM-Ch. 2 morning news anchor Randy Salerno.

Salerno, 45, had been a passenger on a snowmobile that Hirschey was driving when it slammed into a pine tree in Vilas County, Wis., after a night of drinking. Salerno died at the scene after the snowmobile hit an embankment and sailed about 45 feet, authorities said. Some four hours after the crash, Hirschey’s blood-alcohol content was .225, authorities said, nearly three times the legal limit to drive.

Before he received his sentence today from McHenry County Judge Gordon Graham, Hirschey told the court that he accepted fault.

He admitted to making a "horrendous" decision to drive drunk in 2012 and was "grateful" that no one was hurt by his actions that day.

"I will regret that decision for the rest of my life," he said. "I truly had reached a new rock bottom in my life."

He said he had attended his first AA meeting the day after this accident and has attended regularly since. He said he recently became an AA sponsor.

Breaking into tears, Hirschey spoke of how he feared losing his business, his wife and his relationship with his son.

The state asked for the maximum five-year prison sentence.

The facts of this case are "extremely troublesome," said Assistant State's Attorney David Metnick, noting Hirschey’s involvement in the crash that killed Salerno. 

In July 2009, a Vilas County judge had sentenced Hirschey to three years of probation and 100 hours of community service after he pleaded no contest to homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle in that fatal crash. The judge ordered Hirschey not to drink alcohol. Salerno’s family had asked the judge to spare Hirschey prison time.

It was right around the time that Hirschey was released from probation in that case that he was accused of drunken driving, and a host of traffic offenses, in Crystal Lake.

H/T Chicago Tribune