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updated: 3/18/2014 2:47 PM

Plea deal offered to Antioch teen in Gurnee street racing crash

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  • Jeremy A. Betancourt

    Jeremy A. Betancourt


A plea agreement has been offered in the case involving an Antioch-area teen charged with killing a friend during an illegal street race in Gurnee last June.

The defense attorney for Jeremy Betancourt, 18, met behind closed doors Tuesday with Lake County Judge Victoria Rossetti and prosecutors to try to resolve the case before it goes to trial March 31.

Neither side would discuss the details of the proposal, but defense attorney Jed Stone said "progress was made" during the 10-minute meeting.

Stone has previously said there are "extraordinary circumstances" surrounding the case and, therefore, Betancourt should be sentenced to probation rather than prison.

Prosecutors have said previously that any deal would involve a judge determining a sentence for Betancourt during a hearing.

Betancourt faces charges of aggravated driving under the influence and reckless homicide for the June 24 crash that killed 16-year-old Cynthia Perez, a student at Antioch High School.

Betancourt, of the 41000 block of Circle Drive in Antioch Township, was driving erratically during the illegal street race on Route 120 in Gurnee when his Honda slid into the center median ditch, went airborne and rolled over, authorities said.

Perez was not wearing a seat belt in the back seat of the vehicle and fell out of the rear window when the vehicle flipped. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Betancourt and two other passengers were treated and released from Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville.

Betancourt was initially charged with reckless homicide and aggravated street racing, but an aggravated driving under the influence charge was added after test results showed he had marijuana in his system.

He was released on $100,000 bail so he could enroll in a substance and behavioral assistance program. Betancourt has been released from a Lake Villa treatment center, but remains at home on 24-hour curfew.

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