Driver Who Killed Family Guilty of DUI on Same Road

Walter Depner drove drunk again on the same road

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 7, 2014 3:42 PM CDT | Updated Jul 7, 2014 4:10 PM CDT

(Newser) – A scary story from northern Illinois, where a man who killed four people while driving drunk nearly 15 years ago today pleaded guilty to a DUI on that same road, the Chicago Tribune reports. In the most recent incident, Walter Depner, 62, was reportedly seen driving into a snowbank on Feb. 24, 2013, before police found him mumbling and crying at the home of an old friend. He "seemed severely depressed," said his friend, who quoted Depner as saying he'd taken "a whole bottle of Klonopin ... I hope that's enough," and "I want to see my old friends before I go."

Depner was reportedly talking about the people he'd killed back in August of 1999: a 34-year-old mother and her three children; the father, Thomas Burleson, survived. "The tragedy has not become any less tragic based on the passage of time," Burleson told the Northwest Herald. "The real tragedy now is that he has been arrested again for basically the same crime." Having served 12 years for the first incident, Depner admits that this time he drank alcohol and downed 30 to 40 Klonopin pills before driving in his girlfriend's truck. He now faces 5 to 10 years without probation, and was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation before his sentencing in August.

Walter Depner.
Walter Depner.   (McHenry County sheriff's department)
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