A Carol Stream man whose girlfriend died after his truck collided with a moving train pleaded guilty Wednesday to aggravated drunken driving.
Jeffrey Fisher, 40, faces up to 10 years in prison for the July 3 crash that killed 30-year-old Eva Meyers of Carol Stream.
Fisher was southbound when his pickup truck crashed through a railroad gate and collided with a passing freight train at Rowling and Irving Park roads in Itasca. He later registered a 0.15 blood-alcohol level, almost double the legal threshold, prosecutors said.
Police responded just before 3 a.m. to find Fisher's truck near the railroad crossing with major damage to the passenger side.
Prosecutors said Fisher smelled of alcohol and admitted he had been drinking. Meyers, who was unconscious but breathing, was airlifted to a Park Ridge hospital where she died of injuries including head trauma.
A witness told investigators Fisher appeared to speed up seconds before the crash, even though the railroad gates were down and an audio warning activated. A "black box" recording from the truck confirmed it hit a top speed of 54 mph in the 40 mph zone just before the fatal collision, prosecutors said in court Wednesday.
Fisher told police he was drinking at a bar before the crash and had consumed alcohol at another location before that, prosecutors said.
"He indicated he had too much to drink and shouldn't have been driving," said Assistant DuPage County State's Attorney Mike Fisher, who is not related to the defendant.
In exchange for Jeffrey Fisher's plea, prosecutors agreed to cap their sentencing recommendation at 10 years rather than the maximum of 14. Fisher also could receive probation if Judge John Kinsella finds "extraordinary circumstances" warrant it.
"I think there's a lot of mitigation here that we hope to present but it's too early to comment," defense attorney Paul DeLuca said outside of court.
Fisher returns to court Feb. 15, when Kinsella is expected to set a date for sentencing.