Man charged in motorcyclist's death in Naperville
A man with a history of driving offenses and other run-ins with the law faces multiple charges after authorities say he chased another motorist following a "road rage incident" and drove into the path of motorcycle, killing its driver.
Michael J. Moreno, 31, of the 11700 block of Presley Court in Plainfield, was ordered held on $750,000 bail Thursday. He is charged with aggravated DUI, aggravated reckless driving, leaving the scene of a fatal accident, obstructing police and marijuana possession.
DuPage County prosecutors said Moreno admitted to smoking marijuana before he pursued another motorist — a 16-year-old girl from Naperville driving a 2006 Honda — about 5 p.m. Wednesday. Moreno, police said, was headed west on Ogden Avenue when he turned his 2006 Infiniti M45 left onto River Road, hitting the motorcycle of Gerald Puglise, who was eastbound on Ogden with the right of way. Puglise, 63, of Lombard, died at the scene.
Moreno was taken to Edward Hospital in Naperville, where he was treated for minor injuries, police said. He also tested positive for marijuana, and admitted smoking it earlier in the day, Assistant State's Attorney Bethany Jackson said in bond court Thursday.
Prosecutors described the chase leading up to the crash as a "road rage incident" but did not elaborate. According to court records, Moreno fled the scene and resisted officers when they arrested him. He is accused of possessing less than 10 grams of marijuana.
In bond court, Moreno told Judge Elizabeth Sexton that "a lot of these things are big misunderstandings."
Moreno has prior arrests for drugs, burglary and other offenses, Jackson said. According to Will County court records, several orders of protection have been sought against him, and he was convicted of speeding 40 miles or more over the limit in 2003 and misdemeanor marijuana possession in 2007. In DuPage, he's been issued speeding tickets 10 times since 2003 and was convicted three years ago of driving on the wrong side of the road in Naperville.
Sexton set bail at $750,000, meaning Moreno would have to post $75,000 to be released from the county jail. Moreno is set to appear later this month before Judge George Bakalis.
An "external exam," as well as toxicology tests were being performed Thursday on the victim, officials at the DuPage County Coroner's office said.
"Every year, thousands of lives are needlessly lost to DUI related crashes," State's Attorney Robert Berlin said in a statement. "Illegal drugs and alcohol can impair your ability to operate a motor vehicle. The motoring public has to learn that if you have been drinking or have any amount of illegal drugs in your system you should not get behind the wheel of your car."
If convicted of aggravated DUI, Moreno could face up to 14 years in prison.
The accident remains under investigation. Anyone with information regarding the crash is asked to call the Naperville Police Department's traffic unit at (630) 305-5285.
Staff writers Michelle Holdway and Marie Wilson contributed this story.
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