The mother of a 25-year-old man charged in a crash that killed a pregnant woman and her three young sons near their south suburban Chicago home last month spoke out about her son ahead of his first court appearance Wednesday.
Kim Woulfe said late Tuesday she is heartbroken for the family of those killed in the crash, but also for her son.
Sean B. Woulfe was charged with 16 counts of reckless homicide, including two counts of reckless homicide of an unborn child Tuesday.
"He would never hurt anyone on purpose," Kim Woulfe said.
Woulfe, of the 300 block of West 7th Street in Manteno, was driving in excess of 20 mph over the posted speed limit of 55 mph at the time of the crash on July 24, authorities said.
Lindsey Schmidt, 29, of Beecher, and her sons, 6-year-old Owen, 4-year-old Weston and 19-month-old Kaleb were on their way to bible classes at Trinity Lutheran Church just after 8:30 a.m. when police said Woulfe blew a stop sign in his pickup truck and struck their sport utility vehicle near the intersection of Yates and Corning.
Schmidt, who was pregnant, and her youngest son Kaleb were pronounced dead at the scene. Weston died at Comer Children's Hospital at the University of Chicago the following evening, while Owen succumbed to his injuries two days later.
"We are still grieving tremendously," Schmidt's cousin Brent Riechers, who was speaking for the family, told NBC 5 Tuesday. "Nothing will bring them back. Justice must be served, and we hope that this will open people's eyes to be careful when driving. Slow down, turn off your phones, be present."
The warrant for Woulfe's arrest was signed Tuesday morning, authorities said, and Woulfe was taken into custody at his residence without incident at around 10:30 a.m.
"This is one of the toughest cases with children and whatnot to handle," Will County Sheriff Mike Kelley said at a news conference. "I’ve been in this business 29 years and it doesn’t get any easier. We’re talking about three small children and a mother and it just doesn’t get easy, no matter how many years you put in."
Each of the reckless homicide charges are Class 3 felonies, with several of the counts making Woulfe eligible for an extended term of up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
"This is an unspeakable tragedy ... because all the victims were from one family. I don’t think Mike and I have ever seen anything like this," Glasgow said, adding that prosecutors will be seeking an extended term "where it's appropriate."
Glasgow also praised the children's father for his handling of the tragedy, saying, "He's a god-fearing man and he has taken this as stoically as I imagine any father could do and he deserves tremendous credit for that."
"It's not something you ever even want to imagine," he added.
Officials said there was no evidence of the involvement of illegal drugs or alcohol in the crash, and Woulfe had no significant driving record prior to the crash as far as they knew.
Woulfe is currently being held at the Will County Adult Detention facility, officials said, with bond set at $1 million. He was expected to appear in court at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.