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Suspected Driver In Comanche Crash Faces 4 Counts Of Aggravated Vehicular Assault (Updated)

Daniel Vanderhoof Jr. is slated to be arraigned this morning in Mentor Municipal Court

Daniel Vanderhoof Jr. -- the man accused of driving into a house on Comanche Trail and sending four people, including two young children, to the hospital -- was arraigned Monday morning in Mentor Municipal Court.

Vanderhoof, 28, of Willoughby, faces four charges of aggravated vehicular assault. He is also accused of drunken driving, driving without a license, reckless operation and fleeing the scene of a crash.

Vanderhoof could only choose to plead not guilty or make no plea. He made no plea.

Acting Judge Jeffrey McGaffick set his bond at $410,000.

Vanderhoof asked for a smaller bond.

"I have to be out there working every day for my family," he told the judge.

During his hearing, Vanderhoof referred to the crash as a "really big accident."

At about 3 a.m. Sunday, Vanderhoof was driving a 1991 Mercury Grand Marquis fast on Iroquois Trail, Mentor Police Lt. Ken Zbiegien said. When the road ended in a T-intersection with Comanche, Vanderhoof could not stop the car in time and he drove right into the house at 7044 Comanche Trail.

The car drove completely into a house -- trapping a 3-year-old boy, Christopher Lukasiewicz Jr., beneath the car and pinning an 18-month-old infant, Cassy Lukasiewicz, in her play pen against the wall, Mentor Fire Battalion Chief Joseph Busher said.

The car also injured the adult man and woman in the home. Their names are Christopher Lukasiewicz and Tonya Blare.

Vanderhoof ran away after the crash and walked back to his house in Willoughby, Zbiegien said.

However, Mentor police officers were able to identify Vanderhoof through the owner of the car, Zbiegien said.

Mentor and Willoughby police officers then arrested Vanderhoof from his home in Willoughby.

Vanderhoof's passenger does not face any charges. He did not run away after the crash. Additionally, he tried to provide some first aid to the Lukasiewicz-Blare family, Zbiegien said.

However, the woman who allowed Vanderhoof to use her car -- Heather Wright -- has been charged with wrongful entrustment.

All four people who were injured were taken to hospitals.

Mentor firefighters extricated the 18-month-old baby girl first. The child was taken to Hillcrest Hospital in Mayfield Heights and then transferred to Rainbow Babies & Children in Cleveland.

The 3-year-old boy was extricated next and transported to Lost Nation. From there, he was flown by medical helicopter to Rainbow Babies & Children Hospital. He was in the intensive care unit as of Sunday. However, Zbiegien said the boy's condition is continuing to improve.

Lukasiewicz was taken to Lake West Medical Center in Willoughby. From there, he was flown to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland. He is in stable condition.

Finally, Mentor-on-the-Lake firefighters took Blare, who had relatively minor injuries, to Lake West. She was treated and released.

Willoughby firefighters also assisted on the call.

Vanderhoof has a criminal record. He has been convicted of attempted burglary, disrupting public services and domestic violence in Lake County Court of Common Pleas as well as falsification, operating a vehicle while intoxicated and drug abuse in Mentor Municipal Court, according to online court records.

Kathy Adult December 11, 2012 at 12:27 AM
He has to out there working every day for his family?! Why should we feel bad for them when he didn't bother to? And speaking of family...what about the family he almost killed?! He is scum.
Kathy Adult December 11, 2012 at 12:29 AM
Vanderhoof has a criminal record. He has been convicted of attempted burglary, disrupting public services and domestic violence in Lake County Court of Common Pleas as well as falsification, operating a vehicle while intoxicated and drug abuse in Mentor Municipal Court, according to online court records Keep him in jail, and lose the key. His family is better off with him locked up.
Nikki December 13, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Everyone leaving a comment on this page is only juding him by his PAST criminal record! What happened could have happened to anyone.... you can not tell me that every single one of you has never drank an got behind the wheel of a car an drove when you new you shouldnt have.... When you drink an drive this is what happens... could have been anyone! But since he has a criminal PAST that was when he was in his teens..... which he served his time for...... you are all quick to judge.... try looking up info before you post.... if you did you would know the facts!
Kathy Adult December 14, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Nikki, How about we forget his past behavior, hard to do, but we'll try. In the past week he almost killed this young family. Sorry, but I don't think I can forget that, and I'm sad to say, I don't think this family will be able to either.
Concerned Citizen December 14, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Nikki, this has nothing to do with his past, but has everything to do with the current. If I was your family that was in that house I am pretty sure you would not comment the way you have. He made the choice to get behind the wheel and nearly kill 4 innocent people. The home is a total loss which means these children and family are homeless. Something this guy had absolutly no remorse, he walked home with no concern to this family. He cared only for himself. If he was so worried about his own family he should have called one of them to come and drive him home. This was not a accident, it was intentional! He did not have a valid drivers licence, I don't know the reasoning behind it nor do I care , because the truth is a accident is not something that happens when you intentionally get behind the wheel when you have been drinking and or drugs and don't have a valid drivers licence. He deserves to get 32 years the maximum sentence for the crime he committed. FYI you are wrong not every single person gets behind the wheel after they have been drinking. Most people have common sense and realize they have way to much to loose. I Pray this family can get through the physical and emotional scaring that this horrible crime has caused. Again I hope he gets the 32 years he deserves.

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