A judge Tuesday sentenced a former youth jail guard to three years in prison for causing a crash that killed Craig Smith, a 53-year-old St. Charles man, in October 2008.
Reginald Hearon, 51, of Plano, must serve 85 percent of the sentence issued by Kane County Judge Karen Simpson.
Hearon pleaded guilty last year to reckless homicide and faced up to 14 years in prison for causing Smith's death on Oct. 2, 2008, in which Hearon's 1997 Ford Econoline van collided head-on with Smith's 2005 Chevy Blazer on a two-lane stretch of Fabyan Parkway in Blackberry Township.
Hearon, a former guard at the St. Charles Youth Center, was late for work that morning. Witnesses said he was speeding, blew a stop sign and was weaving in and out of traffic.
Steve Sims, the lead Kane County prosecutor on the case, argued for a seven- to 10-year sentence, and said that while Hearon's sons eventually will see him again, Smith's wife and four grown kids have lost a loved one forever.
"I'm at peace with (the sentence)," Smith's widow, Tina, said afterward. "(Hearon's) suffering. We're all suffering. Both families are suffering. This is as fair as can be. The hurting needs to come to an end for my family -- both families. It's just awful for everybody."
Defense attorney Richard Irvin argued for a term of four years probation during which Hearon would serve on DUI victim impact panels.
Irvin said his client's blood alcohol content of .069 was under the legal threshold, and he had vodka and Nyquil the night before to treat a cold. Hearon pleaded guilty to reckless homicide and DUI to take responsibility for his actions.
"He was deeply sorry for taking the life of Mr. Smith. He wishes it was him," Irvin said. "He could not in good conscience put the family through a long drawn out trial. He accepted responsibility knowing there was a strong possibility he'd go to prison."
Hearon had been free on $7,000 bond; it was revoked and he began serving his sentence.
Hearon had been scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 27, but it was moved up because Simpson will be changing courtrooms early next month.