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updated: 11/25/2013 6:19 PM

Lawsuit filed in crash that killed Sycamore boy

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  • Benjamin J. Black

    Benjamin J. Black


The family of an 11-year-old Sycamore boy who died in a February crash is seeking damages from the drunken driver who hit the car the boy was riding in.

Relatives of Matthew Ranken filed the lawsuit in Kane County this month, seeking unspecified damages from Benjamin J. Black, 29, of the 1500 block of Sparkhayes Drive, Sycamore. He was charged with aggravated DUI several months after the Feb. 28 crash when heroin was found in his system.

Black pleaded guilty earlier this month and faces up to 14 years in prison when he is sentenced on March 20.

The victim's brother, Nick Weber, 22, was injured in the crash and also seeks damages from Black.

Matthew Ranken was a passenger in Weber's 1999 Chevy Cavalier, which was rear ended by Black's 1999 Ford Expedition on Route 64 near Farbis Road in Virgil Township.

Weber and other drivers were stopped along Route 64 for another crash when Black slammed into the Cavalier, according to prosecutors.

The lawsuit accuses Black of negligence, failing to keep a proper lookout and failing to reduce speed to avoid the crash.

Matthew's relatives "continue to suffer extreme grief, sorrow, mental suffering, and will suffer the loss of consortium, society, love, affection, guidance, companionship, felicity and other losses," read part of the lawsuit.

Philip Ryan, who is the attorney representing Weber, declined to comment Monday.

Information about Black's attorney was not immediately available.

The case is due in court on Feb. 6.

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