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Elgin man who drove into headstones sentenced

ST. CHARLES – An Elgin man who lost control of his vehicle last year and hit 12 headstones in the city-owned West Batavia Cemetery will serve 250 hours of community service and pay $1,700 in fines.

Kane County Judge Katherine Moran on Thursday imposed the sentence on Kevin Malone, who was 26 at the time of the crash May 21, 2011. He was charged with improper lane use, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, operating an uninsured vehicle, driving without a valid license and reckless driving.

Moran admonished Malone for driving without insurance at the time of the crash. She ordered him to return to the court every three months to prove he has car insurance.

“It appears that this was an accident, but it caused substantial damage. Now taxpayers have to pay to repair the damage to the cemetery,” Moran said.

Moran said community service should be served in Batavia if possible.

Moran said she can’t order Malone to pay restitution. She said the Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that courts can’t order restitution for violations of the Illinois Vehicle Code.

Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke said he was disappointed to hear that.

“A lot of people took a lot of personal damage,” Schielke said. “Once again, the state of Illinois lets us down.”

Schielke said the city had to pay for $20,559 in damage to the cemetery. The city had to repair the grounds and reset the headstones. That cost doesn’t include repairing the headstones.

Schielke said one woman paid more than $4,000 out of pocket to have two headstones repaired. The headstones of Schielke’s parents, Don and Catherine Schielke, along with his grandfather, Olaf Odee, were among those damaged in the crash.

The city operates the West Batavia Cemetery at 900 S. Batavia Ave. During last month’s sentencing hearing, Batavia police officer Jeff Powers testified Malone told him he was on the phone talking to his girlfriend at the time of the crash.

“He was upset with her,” Powers said.

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