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Article updated: 2/14/2014 6:17 AM

Island Lake man pleads not guilty in fatal crash

Kevin Gillespie

Kevin Gillespie

 
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An Island Lake man accused of being impaired when he struck and killed an intoxicated pedestrian in September in unincorporated Lake County pleaded not guilty in court Thursday.

Kevin Gillespie, 22, of the 900 block of Wembley Drive, faces a maximum of 29 years in prison if found guilty of killing Tracy Meger-Berry, 46, of Port Barrington.

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He remains held in Lake County jail on $250,000 bail.

Assistant State's Attorney Michael Ori said the Lake County Sheriff's Office was called to Lamphere Road near Port Barrington at 2:30 a.m. on Sept. 22, and found Meger-Berry in the roadway after being hit by a car.

Meger-Berry, who lived about a mile from the crash site, was taken to Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, where she died from her injuries.

Ori said police traced a piece of a bumper recovered at the scene to a vehicle that was found a few hours later at Gillespie's home.

During questioning, Ori said, Gillespie admitted he stopped his vehicle after he realized he hit the woman, then left the scene. He also admitted he consumed alcohol and marijuana before the accident, Ori said.

Lake County Sheriff's Sgt. Sara Balmes said an autopsy showed Meger-Berry had a blood alcohol content of .276 percent when she was hit by the car. Balmes said crash investigators believe Meger-Berry was laying in the road when she was run over by Gillespie's vehicle.

Ori said he could not comment on whether she was intoxicated or if she was laying in the road before being hit.

Gillespie is charged with two counts of aggravated driving under the influence of drugs, and single counts of failure to report an accident resulting in death and failure to stop following an accident that resulted in death, Lake County Judge Christopher Stride said during Gillespie's arraignment Thursday.

The aggravated DUI charge could put Gillespie behind bars for up to 14 years, Stride explained, while the failure to report an accident resulting in death carries a maximum 15-year prison sentence.

If Gillespie is found guilty at a trial, the failure to report an accident charge would be served consecutively to the aggravated DUI charge, so he could be sentenced to up to 29 years in prison, Stride explained.

Initial charges against Gillespie were filed in September, but arraignment was delayed while the case was investigated, officials said.

Defense attorney Jeremy Harter said he was unable to comment on the case after the arraignment hearing.

Gillespie is due to appear in front of Lake County Judge Daniel Shanes for a pretrial conference Feb. 20.

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