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Crime & Courts

Drug use suspected in fatal collision

GENOA – A 44-year-old Rockford man was charged with felony DUI in connection with the collision that killed a 34-year-old Sugar Grove man and injured five others.

Howard Castleman, of the 2900 block of Sunnyside Road, Rockford, was charged with felony aggravated driving under the influence, driving under the influence and improper lane use, DeKalb County Chief Deputy Gary Dumdie said. He was taken to DeKalb County jail after being treated at Kishwaukee Community Hospital.

Castleman allegedly was under the influence of drugs, Dumdie said. His bond was set at $500,000, which requires posting $50,000 for release while the case is pending. The most serious charge is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

More charges could be filed after police receive lab test results and consult with prosecutors, Dumdie said.

Castleman’s 2007 Freightliner two-axle truck was traveling south on Route 23 south of Lloyd Road about 6:15 p.m. when he drove into the northbound lane and struck another truck head-on, Dumdie said. Two other vehicles driving behind the northbound truck – a Chevrolet Impala and a minivan – each struck the vehicle in front of it.

Ryan E. Martin of Sugar Grove was pronounced dead about 6:50 p.m. at the scene, Coroner Dennis Miller said. He was driving a 2002 box truck for Nick’s Furniture in Sugar Grove.

Nick Bumba, owner of Nick’s Furniture, described Martin as a reliable employee and a great father to his 3-year-old son.

“Ryan was just a very good person, all the way around, in every sense of the word,” Bumba said. “He was hardworking, dependable and very reliable. We’re heartbroken. I’m personally heartbroken. He was a good man.”

Castleman and four others – Michael J. Roberson, 18, of Sugar Grove; Susan K. Springer, 43, of Genoa; a 13-year-old Genoa girl; and Wendy Harms, 48, of Genoa – were taken to Kishwaukee Community Hospital and later released.

Castleman was driving a truck for Straight Shot Express, which contracts with UPS to haul oversized freight.

Route 23 was closed between Base Line and Whipple roads until late Wednesday night while emergency crews worked.

Snow or slick roads did not appear to play a role in the accident.

“While they’ve been up at the scene, they’ve had snow go through,” Dumdie said Wednesday. “Weather does not appear to be a factor in the accident.”

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