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The Impact Of The Accident

The woman in the car hit head-on by the former Grayslake police chief tells her side of the story.

"It wasn't a minor accident," said Kate Lutz, describing the head-on crash where she and her fiance Todd Liepitz were hit by a SUV driven by the former Grayslake Police Chief Matt McCutcheon.

Lutz, 27, and Liepitz, 33, were driving home after a marriage preparation class on March 30. They were approaching the intersection at Highway 45 and County Road C in Kenosha County when their car was hit head-on by McCutcheon's SUV.

. He was carrying his loaded weapon although he was off-duty the night of the crash, according to the Kenosha County Sheriff's report.

McCutcheon initially refused sobriety tests at the scene, but later submitted to the test. No injuries were reported the night of the crash. But Lutz said that the impact of the accident was still significant.

"It's not minor when you are sitting there watching a car come at you," she said. "We suffered a total loss of Todd's vehicle. Yes, insurance does pay for the car to its current value. But we were planning on keeping that car for at least another two years. Now we have to go out an buy a new car. We are only six months away from our wedding so we have other expenses to deal with."

She said they were happy that no one was hurt in the accident, but said the experience was traumatic.

"We saw the headlights coming at us, and heard their tires squealing," Lutz said. "I let out a little scream. Todd put his arm out to block me. The sound of the other the other vehicle hitting us was unbelievable. Our car was probably pushed back about 50 feet."

She said her fiance just kept asking, "Are you Ok? Are you OK? I just felt like I had been underwater for five minutes. I couldn't catch my breath."

She said McCutcheon never asked she or her fiance if they were okay and never apologized for the accident.

"Mr. McCutcheon walked over to our car and just said, "Wow. Wow." He just said "Wow" a lot," Lutz recalled.

Lutz said the pain from the accident set in later.

"The next day, both Todd and I were in exreme pain. We literally felt like we had been hit by a truck," she said. "Every bone in your body hurts. But we knew it could've been so much worse."

She said the accident could have had devastating consequences, instead of just causing major inconveniences.

"There is so much emotion coming out after an accident like this," Lutz said. "You are terrified, and thankful, and stressed, and relieved."

She knows they were lucky.

"Our lives could've been changed so horribly," Lutz said. "We could be planning a funeral now instead of continuing to plan our wedding. That situation would never have happened if that man was sober."

She said a police chief should have more regard for others' safety.

"I wonder, how many DUIs has he written?" Lutz asked. "And now he dares to do this himself?"

She said she is speaking out to say that the accident did impact their lives.

"Everybody is thankful that it turned out the way that it did," she said. "I think there is some hestitation to say anything because of who he is. But I didn't break the law, I didn't do anything wrong. I don't mind speaking out."

She and Liepitz got engaged in February 2010 and are planning an October 6, 2012 wedding. Liepitz is originally from Wonder Lake. Lutz grew up in Lindenhurst, and graduated from . She has been working at a Grayslake day care center for the past five years.

As she and her fiance continue to plan for happier days, she pleaded with other drivers to avoid a similar DUI accident.

"Please drive sober and always wear your seatbelt," Lutz said. "It can happen to anyone at anytime."

LMJ April 16, 2012 at 01:58 PM
I think it's the thought of what could have happened that shakes you the most. So glad you ALL are okay. Please don't drink and get behind a wheel, period.
Gayle Sax April 16, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Kate, I had no idea you were involved when I first read about this horrible experience. I am so thankful that you and Todd are alright and can help spread the word how nobody is above the law and nobody has the right to endanger anybody. Especially a freaking Chief of Police! May this be the worst time in your lives together as you plan for your future. Xoxo. Gayle Sax
yehtmai April 16, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Your HON-er, I have coached ex-TEN-sively with my clients...
4GirlsNoBoys April 16, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Kate did a great job describing the accident and her feelings. It gave me a sinking feeling in my tummy. I'm so glad that you are speaking out about this to make people think more about drinking and driving -- making something good come out of the horrible choices of McCutcheon. Thank God you and Todd are now okay physically and that later damage doesn't appear (although possible) and we'll pray that all else gets put back together for you. Thank you for speaking out about this collision and the impact on your lives. God bless you.
The anonymous April 17, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Drop it already. Clearly trying to get a few dollars out of this. You poor traumatized girl.
Nancy Yukl April 17, 2012 at 12:43 AM
Obviously the anonymous one clearly has never been on the receiving end of what could have been a deadly outcome. That Poor girl happens to be my best friends daughter, You don't just drop almost being killed!!
Nightcrawler April 17, 2012 at 01:52 AM
Pretty cold, pal.
yehtmai April 17, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Almost being killed?! What qualifies as 'almost being killed', Nancy?
Nancy Yukl April 17, 2012 at 06:10 PM
A head on crash! Why belittle this accident. If it happened to you I am sure you would feel this way.
yehtmai April 19, 2012 at 01:57 AM
A. It was a frontal offset crash. B. There were no injuries. C. Neither of us knows how I'd feel if it happened to me. D. If it did, I'd be a little less dramatic and a little bit more realistic in my recounting of the events of that unfortunate evening. Just the facts, ma'am... Juries don't award settlements based upon what could have happened.

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