Two weeks to the day after friends and family gathered to say farewell to a beloved retired music teacher from Bartlett, Cook County prosecutors announced aggravated DUI charges against the Elgin man they say caused her death.
Cook County Judge Jill Cerone Marisie set bail at $75,000 for Rafael Gonzalez, 37. He has been charged with aggravated DUI causing death in the three-car accident that occurred about 4:50 p.m. Aug. 4 at the intersection of Lake and Park streets in Streamwood.
Linda Reinert, 66, was killed after the landscaping truck Gonzalez was driving struck her car as she waited to make a left turn, said Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Maria McCarthy. The impact pushed Reinert's car into a third vehicle, McCarthy said.
Reinert's 10-year-old grandson, who was riding in the back seat, was treated and released from St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates after receiving eight stitches for facial lacerations, McCarthy said.
A witness estimated Gonzalez, of the 400 block of Franklin St., to be driving about 60 mph at the time of the crash, McCarthy said. The speed limit at that intersection is 40 mph.
A sample of Gonzalez's blood tested positive for cannabis, McCarthy said. Additionally, police recovered "homemade" drug paraphernalia from the driver's door of Gonzalez's truck that tested positive for cannabis residue, McCarthy said. Police also recovered a vial from the same door that tested positive for a barbiturate known as barbital.
Gonzalez's background includes two 2011 speeding convictions from Kane and McHenry counties, McCarthy said. Additionally, he has a 2011 conviction for driving on a suspended license and speeding convictions from 2009 and 2007 along with other traffic violations, McCarthy said.
An Elgin native, Reinert lived with her husband in Bartlett, where for the past 10 years she served as choir director for St. Peter Damian Catholic Church. She was retired from Elgin Area School District U-46, where she had worked for 27 of her 34 years of teaching.
If convicted of the class 2 felony, Gonzalez could be sentenced to three to 14 years in prison. Probation is also available. He next appears in court on Sept. 14.