Collision Course

In 2005, a young woman bent on self-destruction intentionally drove her car into the back of another. She lived. Three musicians on their lunch break died. This year, as her prison sentence comes to its end, the case remains a tragedy without closure or explanation.

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In happier times: (far left and above) John Glick and his wife, Rebecca Crawford; (top) Glick; (right) Glick and Michael Dahlquist at work at Shure

 

Michael Dahlquist hadn’t been playing drums very long when he walked into a Seattle practice space in 1990 and auditioned for the founding members of Silkworm, who, up to that point, had been relying upon a drum machine nicknamed Lurch. Dahlquist had been driving a cab to make a living and, by his own admission, wasn’t a very good drummer. But, over time, the vicious way he hit the drums (often wearing nothing but boxer shorts and gardening gloves) evolved into a concise, if aggressive, technique. “Eventually, his drumming style was described as workmanlike; blue collar, lunchpail, hardhat drumming,” says Steve Albini, the renowned producer who recorded eight of Silkworm’s albums. “But I think that undersells his genius a little bit.” Five years after Dahlquist joined the band, Silkworm signed with Matador and then Touch and Go—two of the independent music scene’s most respected labels—and toured the world. 

Dahlquist’s friends describe a similar, far sweeter energy when he was away from the drums. “He could make waiting in line at the post office fun,” says a friend, Rene Usdrowski. Over the years, Dahlquist’s family and friends grew accustomed to his energetic phone calls, which came whenever he saw something unusual—a sunset, a constellation, fireworks. He didn’t meet people so much as he became instant friends with them. “After he died,” Midgett says, “I got dozens of emails from people all over the country who said Michael was their best friend.”

Doug Meis was also a drummer. As a kid growing up in Oak Harbor, Washington, Meis would practice beating his hands against his skinny chest even as he lay in bed. On weekends, he would don a pair of soundproof headphones, tune a radio to the local alternative rock station 107.7 FM, and from noon to 7 p.m. drum to whatever music he heard on the radio. (Those hours were scheduled out of respect for the neighbors.) As a music business major at Illinois Wesleyan University, he spent his Friday and Saturday nights in the school’s practice rooms, not because he was antisocial, but because he knew he’d have the rooms for as long as he wanted. “It didn’t matter what he was doing,” his brother, Scott, says. “Just as long as he had time to play the drums.”

Not long after college, Meis loaded up his car and headed to Chicago on a whim. “Nothing made Doug anxious or worried or depressed,” says his girlfriend, Jennifer Philbrook. “If he did get down, he’d say, ‘I’m kind of sad’—then, a little while later, it would pass.”

John Glick was a guitarist and, most recently, frontman of The Returnables. On stage, he moved with a confidence and exuberance that suggested rock star. Offstage, Glick himself wasn’t showy. He once told his bandmates that he’d much rather be known as a “cult star” and would feel validated by a review in the Trouser Press, an off-the-radar New York rock publication. His wish was granted after the 1999 release of the EP So When Can I See You Again? “It was music performed for the love of music and the camaraderie,” says a friend, Rhett Miller, lead singer for the band Old 97’s. “It was never driven by ambition or need for adulation." 

Glick, who was born and raised in Malden, Massachusetts, started reading when he was three and, by five, was writing poems and songs. (His sister, Emily Alston-Follansbee, recalls one called “John Glick’s Rock ‘n Roll Song.") From the time he was a student at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Glick formed bands with his friends, even rigging an audition so that one of his best friends, Jonathan Ben-Isvy, might make the group. Ben-Isvy didn’t know how to play guitar well, so Glick spent weeks secretly teaching him five Returnables songs. Later, as The Returnables set about making the liner notes for their first album, Glick insisted that all four members take credit. “He wrote the majority of the tunes,” recalls Ben-Isvy, who, as one might expect, passed the audition. “But he didn’t care.” Bandmates weren’t the only ones to know this side of Glick. If he had a great sandwich, he had to make you one. If he heard a great record, you had to listen.

“He just wanted to share things with people,” says his widow, Rebecca Crawford, “and the same could be said about Doug and Michael, too. They lived every day like that.”

Photography: (Dahlquist portrait and silkworm flier) Courtesy of the Dahlquist family, (Dahlquist and Meis) Courtesy of dougjohnmichael.com, (Meis, top right and middle right) Courtesy of Scott Meis, (Meis, bottom right) Todd Wilson

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6 years ago
Posted by anon82

Thank you for this piece. People should never forget the amazing souls that were Doug, John, and Mike. I'm glad you were able to capture a piece of how much they meant to us all.

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

Why does your fragile mental state entitle you to another chance to do this again? Clearly, if she just wasn't in control of herself due to psychiatric problems and prescription drugs, then there is no reason why she wouldn't just hop in another car and kill more people in the future. Either she can control herself or she can't.

I knew John in high school. Everything written here about his character is true - he was always laughing, always making other people laugh, creative, talented, vibrant, magnetic, dynamic, in love, absolutely head over heels in love with music...

But some judge bent over backwards to make excuses for her. He should remember that when she gets her license back, it could be his family sitting there at the red light.

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

I saw this on "Snapped" last night (not so pretty without the hair dye and all that make-up, is she? Empty eyes, no soul behind them whatsover.)

Why was she allowed to get away with three murders?

Why were those three men's lives held so cheaply?

And she's going to be allowed to drive again? That's outrageous.

That judge should be removed from the bench immediately.


Terry Callen
Gloucester City, NJ

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

I cannot believe this woman is being set free. They say she is mentally ill, so she apparently needs mental help. She is sick, and the thought of death didn't stop her from this crime, so why should jail? I say revoke her license and get her the help she needs.

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

What is wrong with the justice system in this country????? Very very sad. My prayers are with the families of the victims.

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

A sad event yes, but all too often we say 'justice was not served' and blame the system when we confuse justice with vengeance. What would Rebecca call adequate closure in this situation? Who would decide weather that punishment was just?

6 years ago
Posted by chongo shaun

There are only a couple of methods of justice I can think of in this case. Life imprisonment (which I would gladly put my tax money into) or banishment. I do not always believe in eye for an eye so I can't wish her death, but this is a travesty of justice.

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

I went to school with Jeanette for 15 years, she is a great person who has gone through a lot the last few years. Everyone in our towns feel for the 3 guys that were killed, but we also feel for Jeanette who is seriously ill and needs help. She wanted to kill herself, not someone else. Its just sad that it all happened differently. Whats done is done. Everyone should pray for her return to health, and for the health of the victims families.

6 years ago
Posted by bodeie

I live in Columbus, Ohio where just a few days ago a guy was sentenced to 34 years in prison for killing three asian students in a 'similar fashion'. His SUV hit another car and went airborne causing a 9 car accident. His excuse was he got mad at a driver on a cell phone and the fast food restaurant didn't prepare his sandwiches right. Difference here is he killed 2 people in another accident that he got jail time for (believe 10 years) www.wbns10tv.com (for the story). Jason Skaggs was his name. I remember a woman on trial for killing a mother and her 2 (maybe 3) daughter's. Was aired on CourtTV (live) a few years back. Alcohol 'involved'. She got 60 years. Was her 4th OMVI and not sure if other accidents involved deaths. This doesn't surprise me at all. Electing a new president won't change anything. We need a 'clean sweep' of our people in D.C. People killed by drunk drivers is nothing more than an accepted form of 'population control' or our laws would be more severe. Every night people drink in millions of bars in this country and drive home. You never read about the guy who was killed by the driver smoking pot. Forgive me for bringing this up but the penalties are harsher for marijuanna related offenses. Speaking from experience you can only get so 'high' yet we can drink until we blackout and not remember anything the next day (speaking from experience there too). Rapists get more jail time than murderers. How does that make sense. Andrew Luster got more than 100 years and he didn't kill anybody. Why should murderers get less time and often if they are young enough (like Sliwinski) still have a lot of their life ahead of them. The people running our government is is the problem otherwise we would be finding alternative fuels but then the oil companies would lose money and the government doesn't want that. Think about the guy paying .63 cents a gallon in Utah for propane in his Honda GX.

6 years ago
Posted by bodeie

Left one thing out. The woman who got 60 years dog was in her car at the time of the accident and her first concer (she asked the officer at the scene) how her dog was instead of inquiring into the 'carnage' she was responsible for.

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

Not sure that I agree with comment about the rapist getting too much time. He could have killed people, maybe not physically, but ending their lives completely in other ways.

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

I went to grade school with Jeanette and we even carpooled together. She is not someone who was out to kill other people. She was always popular in school. Someone who was outgoing, pretty, nice and smart. Everyone deserves a second chance and I am glad she is getting hers. Before you judge someone else, put yourself in her shoes and imagine at 23...killing 3 people, making your family go through hell and having a record. I wish Jeanette the best and my prayers are with her family.

BMV

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

Whether Jeanette was popular, outgoing, nice, pretty or smart is besides the point, isn't it? The fact of the matter is that three people are dead from her actions. There are consequences for one's actions. Let's not be led to believe that this was an accident... she intentionally wrecklessly drove her car and killed three people. She need to be held accountable for her actions. I too am sorry for her family, but more importantly for the families of the persons that she KILLED - yes -- she KILLED them. She didn't just slap them but KILLED them. Does everyone deserve a second chance? The definition of deserve is to merit or be worthy of. Why don't the 3 dead people get a second chance? They are worthy of it having done nothing to this person.

I would be happy to petition, etc. if somone could point me in that direction.

6 years ago
Posted by kitkat

I think it is ridiculous that the judge accepted her statement that she wasn't trying to hurt anyone else, just herself. If you deliberately drive your car into someone else's car at 90mph, what do you think will happen? If she didn't expect the people in the car she hit to die, then she wasn't mentally ill... she's mentally disabled. Even a child could figure out the consequences of such an action.

I'm sorry for her family and I'm sorry she was so obviously out of her mind that she decided to act the way she did. In doing so, she affected so many people in such a terrible way. Perhaps it was the drugs or a defect in her brain. Either way, she should be serving a life sentence in a mental institution until "cured" at which time she could serve the rest of it at the state facility.

And I think a petition to get her drivers license reinstated is perhaps the final, disgusting straw of the whole situation. Do they allow convicted murders who gun down their victims to have a gun license after they get paroled? She used her car as a weapon, and as such, she should never be allowed access to that kind of weapon again.

6 years ago
Posted by TRex

What's done is done. Let her be. God bless all involved and may the families of all find peace.

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

God bless all involved.

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

Thank you to the writer and Chicago Magazine for publishing an honest story that embraces the complexity of the situation. I only wish that this story never had to be written.

Having known John and spent time with him and Becky and their wonderful family of friends, I can only say that the world was a better place with him here. I imagine Doug and Michael's friends and family feel the same. My heart goes out to them.

Sharing our stories, I believe, is the only way we can grow and make sense out of this tragedy. I remember seeing an exhibit for this organization years ago (see link below) and thought I'd share it with all of you. Maybe it will help.

http://www.theforgivenessproject.com/stories/DebbieMcLeland

6 years ago
Posted by Anonymous

THis is unbelieveable...I worked with this girl...shared a hotel room with her, slept in the bed next to her...what if she "lost her mind " that night and decided to stab me to death...how scary...and they let this animal out in the world. Jeanette...I worked with you on some of the swimsuit shots in Chicago, and yo thought you were hot shit. You weren't then and you FOR SURE aren't now. I hope you ask for forgiveness when you go to bed everynight for the horrible thing you have done to those 3 men and their families...I hope you never sleep another peaceful night.
YO B

5 years ago
Posted by ssmith2526

Bodeie - you are incorrect on the amount of time Skaggs got for his first 2 murders, he served 5, yes FIVE, months for killing two innocent people in 1994. He got out early because he wrote to the judge and told him that he wanted to get married and that jail was making that impossible for him. BOO HOO. He killed them the same way he killed the next 3, using his car. He has MURDERED 5 people in total. Jesus, this just makes me sick. And he doesn't care at all. His only comments to the media were that while he's sorry they died but that there wasn't anything he could do about it now and that he was just a regular guy trying to live a regular life. Yeah, lots of regular guys murder 5 people. Happens all the time...

5 years ago
Posted by ssmith2526

To the people who think that everyone should just "move on" and let people, like Jeannette, live their lives, you are all dillusional. Will you be willing to do the time for her the next time she kills someone with her car?

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