Man convicted of driving without license but not of what would have been his sixth DUI headed to prison

An Algonquin man who was found not guilty of what would have been his sixth conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol was sentenced to 18 months in prison Thursday for driving without a driver’s license for the fifth time.

Thomas A. Wangler, 55, was convicted by a jury in May of driving on a revoked or suspended license DUI/statutory summery suspension.

In asking for three years in prison, Assistant State’s Attorney Randi Freese said Wangler had seven prior convictions including five for driving under the influence of alcohol as well as for aggravated battery and burglary. She said based on his criminal history and repeated violations dating back decades he has proven “unable to comply with terms of sentence of probation.”

Wangler’s attorney Jeffrey Altman acknowledged Wangler’s criminal history dating back 35 years but said “today he is a changed person.”

Altman said a prison term would put a “strain on his family.”

At trial police said Wangler was pulled over at about 6 p.m. March 25, 2016 near the intersection of Route 31 in Crystal Lake after being spotted driving 11 miles over the speed limit.

When pulled over police found an open beer inside his green Cadillac and suspected he had been drinking. Wangler refused a Breathalyzer and roadside sobriety test and was belligerent, McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Bruketta testified.

At sentencing Thursday Wangler told Judge Sharon Prather that he is “ashamed of my past … (but that) was a long time ago.”

Showing little sympathy, Prather responding that his “past is continuing to 2016… that is not so long ago.”

In handing down the sentence Prather continued Wangler “certainly is not eligible for probation …. You continue to violate the law.”

According to the indictment filed at McHenry County courthouse Wangler has three prior convictions for driving under the influence in Cook County in 1990. He also has convictions in McHenry County in 1993 and 2001. His prior convictions for driving while license revoked or suspended occurred in Cook County twice in 1990 and once in 2002. He also has one in McHenry County in 2002.

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