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updated: 11/7/2013 1:49 PM

Teen charged in fatal street racing crash remains free on bond

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  • Jeremy Betancourt,

    Jeremy Betancourt,


A Lake County teen awaiting trial on charges related to an illegal street race that killed a 16-year-old Antioch girl was allowed to remain free on bond following treatment at a Lake Villa substance abuse program.

However, Lake County Judge Victoria Rossetti told Jeremy Betancourt, 17, that if he breaks one of the court's rules while on home confinement while awaiting trial, she will immediately revoke his bond and send him back to Lake County jail.

"One mishap and you'll be taken back into custody," Rossetti sternly said to a wide-eyed Betancourt Thursday morning, prompting a muffled affirmative reply from the teen.

Betancourt was released from a Lake Villa drug and behavioral treatment program earlier this week, Assistant States Attorney Jason Grindel said in court.

Betancourt has pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated driving under the influence of drugs that resulted in death, reckless homicide and aggravated street racing for his role in the June 24 crash that killed Cynthia Perez, 16.

Betancourt, of the 41000 block of North Circle Drive in unincorporated Lake County near Antioch, was behind the wheel of a Honda during an illegal street race on Route 120 in Gurnee when the vehicle slid into the center median ditch between the eastbound and westbound lanes, went airborne and rolled over, authorities have said.

Perez was in the back seat and not wearing a seat belt when the car flipped over, authorities said. She fell out of the rear window during the crash, and was pronounced dead at the scene. Betancourt and two other passengers in the vehicle were injured in the crash.

Betancourt was charged with reckless homicide and aggravated street racing immediately after the accident. A charge of aggravated driving under the influence that resulted in death was added after lab tests came back positive for marijuana in Betancourt's system, officials said.

He was initially ordered held on $250,000 bail, but his bond was lowered to $100,000 after defense attorney Jed Stone was able to enroll Betancourt in a substance and behavioral assistance program in Streamwood.

However, Betancourt was discharged from the first treatment facility with a substandard report that said he wasn't following the rules. He was chastised in court by Rossetti, but the judge allowed the teen to remain on bail and enroll in the Lake Villa facility.

Rossetti told Betancourt Thursday he must conform to a 24-hour curfew, and was only allowed to be out of his home to go to court or additional treatment programs.

In addition, Rossetti told Betancourt he is not allowed to consume alcohol or drugs, must follow any treatment recommendations by substance abuse counselors, and must appear in court once a week for drug testing.

Betancourt was also ordered to not text, take pictures or post on social media sites from his cellphone while out on bond, and told that he must refrain from contacting the victim's families or other people involved in the case.

Rossetti said Betancourt's personal phone is "for calling family or treatment only" and should not be used for anything else.

Both sides are scheduled to reappear in court on Nov. 15.

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