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updated: 8/21/2013 1:36 PM

Aurora man gets 7 years for fatal DUI hit-and-run

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  • Lee R. Patterson III

      Lee R. Patterson III

  • Doreen Cardenas

      Doreen Cardenas

 
 

An Aurora man was sentenced Wednesday to seven years in prison for a drunken hit and run in October 2010 in North Aurora that killed a 22-year-old Cicero woman and injured her boyfriend.

Lee R. Patterson III, 33, of the 100 block of Assell Avenue, argued for probation after pleading guilty earlier this year to leaving the scene of a fatal crash and aggravated driving under the influence, both felonies.

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Patterson was behind the wheel of a work van at about 2 a.m. Oct. 25, 2010, when he struck Doreen Cardenas and her boyfriend, Ruben Navarro, on the 0-99 block of Grant Street. Navarro was walking Cardenas to her car.

Kane County Judge James Hallock rejected Patterson's argument for probation and issued a prison term of seven years, which was the minimum of a range that peaked at 29 years behind bars.

"The court here sees a defendant who drank alcohol, got into a motor vehicle and began to drive," Hallock said, adding Patterson killed Cardenas and severely injured Navarro. "After having done so, the defendant drove away. The court finds there are no extraordinary circumstances that require probation."

Hallock's decision came after a sentencing hearing that spanned several months.

Belinda Rodriguez, who attended hearings for nearly three years, said she wanted a longer sentence for the death of her daughter.

"I'm not sure what's next for our family," Rodriguez said. "The healing process has to begin. We need to get there because it hurts. It hurts too bad."

Rodriguez testified at a sentencing hearing that she had forgiven Patterson.

"Hopefully, these years, he does repent for what he has done. Truly repent. I want to believe that this time way in prison will help him," she said.

Jose Cardenas, Doreen's brother, said he was thankful the legal process was over. As for his family healing, "We'll just have to do it all together."

"These cases are always tough," said defense attorney Glenn Sowa, who noted his client was repentant. "(Patterson) was resigned to the fact this was a possible outcome. He wasn't shocked. When (a judge) assesses the minimum, pursuant to statute, you can't argue with that."

Prosecutors had argued for an eight-year prison term. Under sentencing laws in Illinois, Patterson likely will spend about 4 years behind bars. The four-year term he received for leaving the scene of a fatal crash can be halved for good behavior. That charge carried a sentence of between four to 15 years in prison.

The three-year term for aggravated DUI must be served at 85 percent, or about 2.5 years in prison. That charge carried a term of three to 14 years in prison.

Patterson also was fined $6,355 and will be on parole for two years after his release.

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