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Hearing on bond reduction continued in crash that killed Sycamore boy

Published: Friday, May 17, 2013 12:47 p.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, June 13, 2013 3:04 p.m. CST

ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – A bond-reduction hearing Friday for a Sycamore man,  accused of driving under the influence in a fatal four-car crash that killed an 11-year-old boy, was continued to next month.

Benjamin J. Black, 28, is being held at the Kane County Jail on $250,000 bail. Ten percent, or $25,000, is required to be posted for his release. Black was charged with three counts of felony aggravated DUI in connection with the death of one person and the severe injury to another, and driving without insurance, while under the influence of heroin. He also was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

The next court date is June 26.

Geneva attorney D.J. Tegeler, representing Black, filed court papers May 9 asking that his client be released on a personal recognizance bond. According to the filing, Tegeler argued that though his client is employed, Black is unable to raise that much money, that he is a first-time offender with no prior convictions and he is not a flight risk because of his ties to the community.

"The amount of the bond set is a hardship on the defendant and violates the defendant's right to a presumption of innocence … [and] impairs the ability of the defendant to assemble witnesses for is defense, which is fundamental to his right to a fair trial," according to the court papers Tegeler filed.

Tegeler said his client decided to continue a scheduled hearing to reduce the bond, in anticipation of a formal indictment before the June 26 court date.

Assistant State's Attorney Joseph Cullen said the state would oppose a recognizance bond.

"We have not agreed to anything at this time," Cullen said, regarding the possibility of any reduction in Black's bond.

Black was driving a 1999 Ford Expedition about 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27 when he hit the rear of 1999 Chevrolet Cavalier on Route 64 west of Peplow Road in west-central Kane County, police said.

The crash killed Matthew Rankin, 11, of Sycamore, who was sitting in the back seat of the Cavalier and fractured the skull of Teal Noble, 18, also of Sycamore, who was a front-seat passenger, according to the charges against Black.

Two other cars were struck in a chain-reaction crash as a result of the Cavalier being hit, but those drivers were treated at the scene, police said. The Cavalier was stopped because of a traffic backup from an earlier crash a mile away. Police also noted that the road was covered with blowing and drifting snow.

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