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updated: 3/5/2014 6:10 PM

Fugitive in Bartlett fatal crash extradited from South Korea

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  • Kyung Ho Song

      Kyung Ho Song

 
 

A former Schaumburg man accused of causing a fatal 1996 car crash in Bartlett while driving drunk was extradited Wednesday from South Korea, where he fled 16 years ago.

Kyung Ho Song, 75, appeared before Cook County Judge Bridget Hughes, who ordered him held without bond following a hearing at the Rolling Meadows courthouse.

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According to authorities, Song was driving his 1993 Oldsmobile west on U.S. Route 20 near Route 59 shortly after midnight on Oct. 11, 1996 when he rear-ended a disabled station wagon being pushed by three of its passengers.

A 43-year-old Chicago woman helping to push the car was killed instantly and two fellow passengers were injured, authorities said. Prosecutors charged Song with reckless homicide and aggravated DUI. They said his blood alcohol content registered .181. The legal limit at that time was .10.

In January 1998, Song pleaded guilty to the charges. Two months later, Cook County Judge Nicholas Pomaro -- who presided over the case -- suggested Song take back his guilty plea and proceed with trial. Pomaro gave no explanation for his decision, according to Daily Herald reports. Pomaro retired in 2005 after spending 29 years on the bench, according to a Chicago Daily Law Bulletin report.

Several months later, in July 1998, Song failed to show up for a court appearance. Authorities determined he had fled to his native South Korea. Last December, ICE Homeland Security Investigators and South Korean authorities arrested Song on a provisional arrest warrant and the country's Ministry of Justice authorized his extradition back to Illinois.

Cook County Sheriff's deputies took Song into custody Wednesday after he arrived at O'Hare International Airport. He next appears in court on April 15.

• Staff writer Katlyn Smith contributed to this report

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