McMahon death case going before grand jury

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By Bill Dwyer

The Cook County State's Attorney will seek a grand jury indictment against the motorist accused of causing the death of Oak Park resident Susan McMahon. Michael L. Cessna, 23, of Aurora, was in court Friday morning before Judge Daniel Weber. At that time, Weber noted to Cessna that his case was "going to the grand jury." Weber also set a Dec. 14 date for Cessna's next court appearance.

Cessna is currently charged with two counts of aggravated DUI, one for being in an accident causing death, the other count for having no valid license at the time of the incident. He was also charged with driving on a revoked license, operating a vehicle without insurance, failure to exercise due care and improper lane use.

Cessna will likely spend Thanksgiving in Cook County Jail. Cessna's parents were in court for his appearance. They told Weber that they were actively seeking an attorney to represent their son. His father, Terry, said afterward that they have so far been unable to raise the required 10 percent of their son's $200,000 bail.

"It's difficult enough to secure an attorney with the charges that have been filed," the father said.

Cessna was allegedly driving a 1990 Buick Riviera when he hit Susan J. McMahon, 62, as she stood near her car in the 300 block of Wisconsin Avenue, at about midday on Sept. 16. She died of the injuries sustained from the crash two days later at Loyola Medical Center.

After a lengthy investigation which included a traffic crash reconstruction and analysis of blood and urine samples by the State Police Crime Lab, Oak Park police tracked Cessna to a Lisle apartment complex and arrested him Tuesday night.

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11/14/2007 3:29 PM

Oak Park police have now arrested the 23-year-old Aurora man they believe responsible for the September death of Sue McMahon, a long-time staff member at Oak Park's village hall.

Michael L. Cessna was taken into custody Tuesday night at an apartment in Lisle. He was apprehended by a tactical team from the Oak Park police department. He has been charged with two counts of aggravated driving under the influence in connection with an automobile crash that injured and later took the life of McMahon. He was also charged with driving with a revoked license, failure to exercise due care and improper lane use.

Wednesday Journal reported this week that police were searching for Cessna after charges were approved by the state's attorney's office. Cessna was arrested Tuesday night after a lengthy police investigation, which included a traffic crash reconstruction and analysis of evidence by the State Police Crime Lab.

Cessna was driving a 1990 Buick Riviera when he hit Susan J. McMahon, 62, as she stood near her car in the 300 block of Wisconsin Avenue, at about midday on Sept. 16. She died of the injuries sustained from the crash two days later at Loyola Medical Center.

Cessna is being held in Oak Park pending a bond hearing today in Cook County Circuit Court.

McMahon had lived in Oak Park for 30 years and worked for the village for nearly 20 years, mostly as a secretary to the village clerk.

-A statement from village hall was used in compiling this report.

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