SUGAR GROVE – A Sugar Grove man was charged with six felonies in connection with what police are calling “a horrific accident” in which a driver lost control at a roundabout, struck a utility vehicle, injured a landscape worker and a person on a bicycle, according to police reports and court records.
John F. Karas, 30, of the 1900 block of Fay's Lane, Sugar Grove, was charged Aug. 6 with failure to stop or to report an accident with injury, two counts each of aggravated assault, two counts of criminal damage to property, one count of criminal damage to government property, all felonies.
Karas was also charged with reckless driving, a misdemeanor.
Karas was also cited for four traffic violations: failure to yield at an intersection, driving without insurance, driving too fast for conditions and improper lane use.
“This was a horrific accident and thankfully, all injured suffered non-life threatening injuries,” Sugar Grove Police Chief Patrick Rollins stated in an email. “Excessive speed is a contributing factor of this accident.”
According to reports, Karas was driving a 2007 BMW 550i north on Dugan Road shortly before 6:30 a.m. on July 27 when he struck the roundabout at the Granart Road intersection.
Karas drove up and over the center landscaped area of the roundabout while a worker was present doing landscaping maintenance in the roundabout, reports stated.
Witnesses told police that Karas’s vehicle became airborne and flew over the landscape worker, according to police and court records.
The landscaping worker was taken to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to police reports.
Karas’s vehicle struck and destroyed a utility trailer containing landscaping equipment belonging to Rich Harvest Farms causing more than $10,000 in damage; it also hit two yield signs and a pine tree located at the roundabout, causing more than $500 in damage, according to the charging documents.
Debris from hitting the utility trailer flew up and struck a triathlon bicycle belonging to the landscape worker, causing more than $399 in damage to the bike, according to the charging documents.
Karas’s vehicle continued on in opposite lanes of traffic, landing in a ditch, reports stated.
Karas ran away from the accident, reports stated.
Karas turned himself in to police Aug. 7 after a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Karas was released from jail after posting $2,000 bail or 10 percent of the $20,000 bond that was set.
A court date of Sept. 6 was set for most of Karas's traffic charges, but as of Aug. 7, records show no court date has been set for the criminal charges.
The most serious charge, leaving the scene of an accident where a person has been injured, is a Class 2 felony, punishable by four to seven years in prison and fines up to $25,000 if convicted.
Court records show Karas was charged with a felony in July 2007 for leaving the scene of an accident with injuries.
According to court records, Karas drove a Ford Explorer near Dugan Road and Prairie Street in Sugar Grove when he “swerved out of his lane of traffic,” striking a man in the body and causing injury to the man's head, chin and ear.
In a 2009 plea agreement, Karas pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery, and was ordered to pay $32,516.46 to the man he hit with his vehicle to pay his out-of-pocket medical expenses stemming from the injuries he caused, court records show.
Kane County Court records show Karas was previously charged with several traffic violations:
• In June 2006, Karas was charged with driving 15 to 20 miles above the speed limit, for which he received five months of supervision and was fined.
• In April 2007, Karas was charged with reckless driving for which he received no fine or costs.
• In November 2008, Karas was charged with driving 21 to 25 miles above the speed limit and failing to display his license. Karas pleaded guilty to both charges and paid fines and court costs.
• In May 2009, Karas was charged with driving without insurance and driving too closely. He was found guilty of driving too closely and not prosecuted for driving without insurance – but with leave to reinstate, court records show.
• In January 2010, following a bench trial on charges of driving too fast for conditions, Karas’s license was forfeited, but it was returned to him in June.
• In March 2011, Karas was found guilty of driving without a license and speeding 21 to 25 miles over the speed limit, court records show, for which he paid a fine.
• In May 2012, Karas was charged with driving on a suspended license, for which he received a fine and supervision.
• In August 2012, Karas was charged with driving without insurance and while his license was suspended. He pleaded guilty to driving with a suspended license and received a fine and supervision.
According to the Secretary of State records, Karas' license was suspended for three months in 2012 because he had three moving violations in a 12-month period. Karas currently has a valid driver’s license, which he just renewed on July 30.