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Driver in fatal Elburn crash ordered to 7-year term

Motorcyclists are well aware of the dangers they face on the roads. When an accident does occur, riders and their passengers are more apt to sustain serious injuries and even fatalities than accidents involving automobiles.

The prison term an Aurora woman will serve for causing a fatal motorcycle accident is less than the eight-to-nine year sentence state prosecutors hoped to get. The judge hearing the case of the 2009 crash ordered the 27-year-old defendant to a seven-year term for the deaths of a couple who were married less than one year.

The defendant pleaded guilty to an aggravated drunk driving charge late last year. Police admit the accused woman was neither drunk nor high when she struck two St. Charles motorcyclists near Elburn, but traces of marijuana were found in the driver's system.

An Illinois Supreme Court ruling last spring removed the prosecutors' burden to prove that impairment caused the fatal accident. The state's high court decided that detection of any amount of drug in a suspect's system was enough proof to bring serious charges.

The felony conviction stems from an accident on Route 47 at Smith Road. The driver testified that she was searching for sunglasses to fight off glare from the motorcycles' chrome when the crash happened. Court records say the Aurora woman sent a text message near the time the accident took place.

The sentence for the convicted woman, who had no prior criminal record, was not without leniency. The judge allowed that the woman's prison release could occur when at least 85 percent of the full sentence was served, which would remove about one year off the term.

The court did not consider the probation sentence recommended by the defense attorney.

A separate civil case brought by the estate of the deceased couple against the driver was settled privately.

Source: The Beacon News, "Seven years for driver who killed two motorcyclists," Dan Campana, Feb. 8, 2012

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