Dentist Faces Reckless Homicide Charges In Fatal I-88 Crash

WHEATON (CBS) — A west suburban dentist with a history of driving while impaired was charged with reckless homicide Monday for allegedly driving his Porsche the wrong way on I-88 earlier this month, causing an accident that killed a woman and her father.

William A. Howe, 43, of Naperville, is charged with two counts of reckless homicide, a Class 3 felony, for allegedly crashing his car into another vehicle, resulting in the death of Sher Ali Shalwani, 75 and Farzana Ali, 38, according to the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s office.

On Aug. 6 about 6:30 p.m. near Lisle, Howe was driving eastbound on I-88 at a high rate of speed when he crossed over the center divide into the south shoulder of the westbound lanes.

He then turned into oncoming traffic, striking a Toyota Corolla in which Shalwani and Farzana, both of Elmhurst, were passengers, a release from the state’s attorney’s office said.

Illinois State Police said witnesses reported seeing cash flying out of the little red car as it drove on the before using a turnaround to cross into the wrong lanes.

Shalwani was dead at the scene while Farzana was transported to a hospital where she later died. Howe also remains hospitalized from injuries suffered in the crash.

“On August 6, through no fault of their own, Sher Ali Shalwani, and Farzana Ali lost their lives in a terrible car crash,” State’s Atty. Robert Berlin said in the release.

“If these allegations are proven true, Mr. Howe is responsible for this senseless loss of life and will be held accountable.

Howe’s driver’s license was valid, though a Secretary of State’s office spokeswoman said he was convicted in DuPage County in 2010 of carrying open alcohol in his vehicle.

He was arrested in Naperville in 2008 for driving under the influence of drugs, having expired plates, failing to signal and passing in a no-passing zone, but the first three charges were dropped, the spokeswoman said.

And six months ago, shortly before 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 6, Howe was pulled over in Naperville and arrested again for driving under the influence of drugs, having expired plates and failing to signal when changing lanes, court records show.

His bail was set at $3,000 but raised in June after he didn’t show up to court in April. He’s expected back in DuPage County court on that matter in a few weeks after a public defender was appointed.

Records show that his Naperville home is in foreclosure and his dental practice — Dr. William A. Howe, DDS, in Aurora — is closed.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • Roberta Waker

    A habitual drunk driver and he was still allowed to drive on our roads. How and why did he slip through the cracks? Obviously our Secretary of State, the police and judges need to do more to get these people off the roads. The commercial on driving drunk says if you get caught you will be arrested and your car confiscated – what happened? This man needs to go to jail and his Porsche confiscated and sold because he obviously has an alcohol/drug problem. He could kill members of your family next – get him off the road.

  • dan

    His porshe is totaled and I beleive he was driving on a suspended or revoked lincense-He is a drug using drunk train wreck with a long history of problems.

    Why he didn’t just crash his car into a bridge or wall and do the world a favor?

  • Jud

    There is more to the story than the Sun-Times reporter’s efforts to make him out to be a drunk, drugged out monster.
    Dr. Howe, as a dentist, was quite generous and served poor patients without charge or at very low cost.
    Tragically, he developed a debilitating illness that progressed too quickly for him to sell his practice. He’s only 43.
    Certainly he should not have been behind the wheel and it’s impossible to excuse killing two people, but a decent reporter might wish to find out whether the drugs he mentions were related to his illness and whether he was unable to exercise good judgement due to his medications or the illness itself.
    One would not expect a guy who graduated well up in his class at University of Illinois dental school to drive the wrong way on an interstate.
    The “news story” is woefully incomplete and sensationally superficial.
    I was one of his patients throughout his time practicing dentistry in Aurora, and I have tried to be a friend to him during the time since he lost his ability to practice.

    • Jack

      I too was a patient of Dr. Howe. What bothers me is the “double” life he presumembly led while I was a patient of his. While you say he was a generous dentist, at home he was an intoxicated abuser according to his former wife. All the while I had no clue that he could be cabable of this behavior. I’m sure you remember the letter that went up in his office saying he was suffering from some very serious sinus trouble. He was constantly sniffling, acting erratic. I’m no doctor but I don’t think constant sniffling is a sign of Huntingtons or Parkinsons. He bagan to lose patients, me included, because of that behavior. That was in 2006. I have read the articles saying the only thing he had in his system was a drug for Parkinsons and some common cold medicine. You can take something for Parkinsons to treat Huntingtons? This thought keeps running through my mind……. He’s a doctor, his friends are doctors. Is it way off base to think that he knows how to legally get high? It would be like a person that does not have ADD taking Ritalin. They get higher than a kite. I hate to think this way but what if? If he is sick I truly feel sympathy for that, but not getting out on the road and killing innocent people. On a positive note, as a dentist he was attentive to my needs and was generally happy with his work.

  • Gus

    He should not have been driving, he has shown that he is not able to obey the law and have any consideration for those around him while he drives. Now two people are dead because of his illegal, reckless actions. Medically impaired? Then don’t drive.
    He needs to go to prison forever. He clearly can’t stay off the road when the state tells him to, and he can’t stay sober, so then let the prison system help him with that. I have no problem with my taxes going toward that end.

  • Jud

    My response was not an attempt to excuse Dr. Howe’s killing two people by driving the wrong way on I-88. He should not have been behind the wheel. My point was that the news story was a sensationalizing of a tragedy–encouraging people to jump to conclusions. A more complete and balanced report is in order. I don’t think you or I should gossip about his marriage in this forum. As you say, he addressed the sniffling issue with a sign in his office and you point out that he was taking a cold medicine. As to your question, according to online articles, medications used to treat Parkinson’s symptoms are indeed used to treat Huntington’s. Both are movement disorders. I’m not a doctor and don’t know the specifics of Dr. Howe’s treatment.
    Huntington’s Chorea is a gruesome disease that, as it progresses, drastically reduces an individual’s ability to exercise reasonable judgment. Some of the effects of the disease probably played a role in your decision to find another dentist just as they affected other parts of Dr. Howe’s life. They would have been precursors of the problems that led to his diagnosis.
    I have plenty of questions about why he was able to be on the road and kill two innocent people.

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