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posted: 9/16/2013 4:17 PM

Antioch-area teen involved in fatal drag racing crash back in jail

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  • Jeremy A. Betancourt

    Jeremy A. Betancourt


An Antioch-area man accused of killing a teenage girl in a June street racing crash is back behind bars after his bail was increased by a Lake County judge Monday.

However, Jeremy Betancourt's bail could be reduced again on Wednesday if his defense attorney is successful in placing him in another behavioral treatment facility.

Betancourt, 17, of the 41000 block of North Circle Drive in unincorporated Lake County near Antioch, made a surprise appearance Monday in front of Lake County Judge Victoria Rossetti following his release Sunday from a drug and behavioral treatment center in Streamwood.

Under his initial $100,000 bail, he was told to appear in court immediately after his release from treatment.

However, Rossetti said it was unclear if Betancourt successfully completed the treatment program, or if he was kicked out of the program for being disrespectful to employees at the inpatient center.

"I cannot tell if he was discharged because he was disrespectful and couldn't follow the rules," Rossetti said before increasing Betancourt's bail to $200,000 and remanding him back to jail.

Defense attorney Jed Stone said attempts are being made to place Betancourt in another treatment facility in Bloomington, Ill. Rossetti said Betancourt should not remain free while she awaits information about the second program, and learns whether he successfully completed the first program.

In addition, because Betancourt has not filed a plea to the aggravated DUI and reckless homicide charges he faces in the June 24 fatal crash, she pushed his arraignment date to Wednesday morning.

Betancourt is charged with aggravated DUI that resulted in death, reckless homicide and aggravated street racing after rolling the vehicle he was driving during a crash on Route 120 in Gurnee.

Witnesses told police Betancourt's Honda was driving erratically before it slid into the center median ditch between the eastbound and westbound lanes, went airborne and rolled over.

Back seat passenger Cynthia Perez, 16, of Antioch, was killed in the crash while her boyfriend was injured.

Betancourt, the boyfriend, and a third teen were taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center with injuries that were not life threatening, authorities said.

Initially, Betancourt was charged with aggravated street racing and reckless homicide following the crash. But, the aggravated DUI resulting in death charge was added after authorities say Betancourt's lab tests came back positive for marijuana.

Authorities say Betancourt was racing against Michael Dawson, 19, of the 400 block of Filweber Court. Dawson was not involved in the accident but was charged with aggravated street racing after the crash. He remains held in Lake County jail in lieu of $250,000 bail.

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