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updated: 7/11/2012 4:57 PM

New charges for driver charged in road rage fatal

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  • Michael Moreno

      Michael Moreno

 

Further testing shows that a Plainfield man was under the influence of cocaine in addition to marijuana when he struck and killed a motorcyclist after a road rage episode in Naperville last month, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The additional drug resulted in another aggravated driving under the influence charge for Michael Moreno, who was indicted Tuesday by a DuPage County grand jury.

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Moreno, 31, now faces two counts of aggravated DUI, as well as charges of disorderly conduct and aggravated leaving the scene of the June 13 fatal crash. His attorney, Paul DeLuca, said he was still awaiting police reports Wednesday and had no immediate comment.

Prosecutors say Moreno cut off a 16-year-old driver at Fifth and Ogden Avenues in Naperville, then sparked a roadside confrontation by repeatedly punching the brakes on his Infiniti M45 with the younger driver behind him. After the confrontation, Moreno followed the other car to the corner of Ogden and River Road, where he struck and killed motorcyclist Gerald Puglise, 63, of Lombard, according to the charges.

The defense contends, however, that it was Moreno who was cut off and who then followed the other car to get a license plate number after one of its passengers punched him and threatened to shoot him on the side of the road. But prosecutors say there was merely an argument, and Moreno concocted the story about being threatened with a gun, which was never recovered.

After the crash, Moreno pulled into a nearby gas station and flagged down a police officer who was unaware that Puglise had been killed, prosecutors said. He and the officer then caught up with the 16-year-old. At no point did Moreno mention he'd hit someone, authorities said.

Prosecutors say Moreno confessed to smoking marijuana before the crash and tested positive for it while being treated in a hospital. Additional testing later revealed cocaine in his system as well, said Paul Darrah, DuPage County State's Attorney spokesman.

Moreno, who has a history of drug arrests and driving offenses, remains jailed on $500,000 bail and is due back in court July 20.

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