A 23-year-old St. Charles woman who was accused more than five years ago of driving drunk and causing the death of a motorcyclist in South Elgin pleaded guilty Tuesday to misdemeanor DUI.
Erika Scoliere was sentenced to two years probation, two years wearing an alcohol monitoring bracelet, 500 hours of speaking time for the Schaumburg-based Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists, and fined $3,705, Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Steve Sims said.
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Scoliere, who was 18 at the time of the crash that killed Frank Ferraro, also must obey a curfew of midnight to 5:30 a.m. for two years that will be monitored by the GPS in the alcohol monitoring bracelet.
Ferraro, a 40-year-old health insurance executive and Gulf War veteran, was headed north on Randall Road on July 13, 2007, when Scoliere turned her sport utility vehicle left, or east, onto Silver Glen Road, in front of him.
Ferraro's mother, Arlene Calcagno, said Scoliere's parents both apologized after the court hearing. Calcagno also said Erika Scoliere apologized and gave her a hug.
"Her family is very involved and I know they're hurting, too," Calcagno said. "I hugged (Scoliere). She held onto me and we were both crying and she said she was sorry. I told her if she knew my son, she'd like him. She was just crying so hard. My heart went out to her. I don't want to carry a grudge. My son is gone and nothing is going to bring him back."
Scoliere, of the 3N900 block of Emily Dickinson Lane, originally was charged with aggravated DUI, reckless homicide and making an improper turn. Those charges were dismissed as part of Tuesday's plea agreement.
Scoliere could have faced up to 14 years in prison if convicted on the original charges.
But a judge ruled in 2009 that blood samples showing that her blood alcohol concentration was .115, which is above the legal threshold of .08, were inadmissible in court.
In spring 2011, an appellate court panel overturned that decision, saying the samples were admissible. However, South Elgin police had mistakenly destroyed the blood samples, which would have been a large hurdle for prosecutors to overcome had the case gone to trial.
Sims and defense attorney Garrett Malcolm had discussed possible options for a guilty plea, one of which included four months in jail. Malcolm did not return a phone message.
Calcagno believes probation will help Scoliere more than a few months in jail.
"I'm trying to look at it from a different perspective, and I'm trying to forgive. We'll never forget. What else can we do? She's young, I don't want her life ruined," Calcagno said. "I'm glad it's over. Five years is a long, long, emotional time."
Judge Timothy Sheldon accepted the plea for Scoliere, which also requires Scoliere to attend a counseling and team building program called Accepting Responsibility is Mandatory on weekends and go to alcohol treatment.
Sheldon also granted her permission to move to Pennsylvania to attend nursing school for two years.
SCRAM, or Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring, also will cost Scoliere $15 a day, or $10,950 over the length of her probation.
Denise Ferraro said nothing could make up for the loss of her brother, but she was relieved Scoliere finally accepted some responsibility.
"They still have their daughter. Frankie's dead forever," Denise Ferraro said. "I guess (Scoliere) will be in her own prison. In a way, she's going to get punished for a longer time (than jail), and every time that bracelet goes off, she'll have to think about what she did. I'm just glad it's over."