A 16-year-old Aurora boy was sentenced to probation but has a prison term hanging over his head after pleading guilty Wednesday to charges stemming from a crash that killed one of his friends.
The teen was charged as an adult but is not being identified because his case was resolved in juvenile court. He was ordered to serve probation until his 21st birthday after pleading guilty to felony reckless homicide and aggravated reckless driving.
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If the teen fails to complete probation, DuPage County Judge Brian Diamond said he would impose a four-year prison term, according to prosecutors. Authorities said the defendant, who was 15 at the time of the accident, had no prior criminal record.
The crash, which killed 15-year-old Devin Meadows, a sophomore at Metea Valley High School in Aurora, happened shortly before 2 a.m. last October. Prosecutors said the defendant had been trying to get his parents' Chevy Malibu to register 100 mph or more on a digital traffic sign that monitors motorists' speeds. That's when the vehicle hit a curb, went airborne, and slammed into an attached garage on the 2700 block of Hamman Way in Aurora.
Meadows was fatally injured when he was thrown from the back seat, police said, while the driver and two other 15-year-old passengers sustained minor injuries.
"This case is a tragedy all the way around. It's a tragedy for the victims, and it's a tragedy for the defendant," State's Attorney Bob Berlin said. "These were just kids doing something very stupid. It truly was a reckless act."
Berlin said prosecutors consulted Meadows' family "at length" about Wednesday's disposition, which took into account that no alcohol or drugs were involved and it was the driver's first offense.
"Believe me, it's no slap on the wrist," Berlin said. "He is going to get intensive probation services through our juvenile probation department. And it allows him to pay a severe penalty while still having the opportunity to become a productive citizen."
The driver's defense attorney declined to comment.