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updated: 10/10/2013 5:27 PM

Antioch Township man pleads guilty in street-racing death

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  • Michael R. Dawson

    Michael R. Dawson


An Antioch Township man involved in a crash that killed an Antioch girl pleaded guilty to aggravated street racing Thursday, authorities said.

Michael Dawson, 19, of the 25000 block of Herman Drive, faces a maximum of eight years in prison as part of a negotiated plea, the Lake County state's attorney's office announced.

Under the law, the charge usually carries a maximum sentence of 12 years. Dawson also is eligible for probation.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 20 before Judge Victoria Rossetti.

Last month, Dawson pleaded not guilty to three counts of aggravated street racing and one count of reckless homicide.

The charges stem from a June 24 crash in Gurnee that killed 16-year-old Antioch High School student Cynthia Perez. Dawson was on probation at the time, authorities said.

Dawson and 17-year-old Jeremy Betancourt were racing on Route 120 near Hunt Club Road in Gurnee when Betancourt lost control of his vehicle, slid into the center median, and rolled, authorities said.

Perez and her boyfriend, Gio Bustos, 20, were not wearing seat belts in the back seat of the car Betancourt was driving, and fell out of the back window when the car rolled over.

Perez was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. Bustos, Betancourt, and a third unidentified male were injured and later treated and released from Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville.

Betancourt, of the 41000 block of North Circle Drive in Antioch Township, also faces criminal charges, including reckless homicide.

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