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updated: 3/16/2017 3:50 PM

Judge upholds charges in fatal Lindenhurst crash

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  • Christopher Romano

    Christopher Romano

 
 

A Lake County judge declined Thursday to dismiss charges against a Zion man accused of recklessly causing a 2015 crash that killed a Lindenhurst man and his daughter.

Judge Victoria Rossetti said prosecutors correctly presented a Lake County grand jury the required evidence needed to show Christopher Romano, 33, could be at fault for the crash that killed 50-year-old Chris Winiewicz and his 15-year-old daughter, Haylie.

Rossetti said she does not have to take into account the validity of the evidence, only whether "some evidence" was presented that could implicate Romano.

"When the dust settles, I think the evidence will show that Chris Romano was not negligent in this tragedy," defense attorney Jed Stone said after Rossetti's ruling Thursday.

Authorities say Romano drove through a yellow light at routes 45 and 132 in Lindenhurst on Aug. 29, 2015, moments before his Nissan pickup truck slammed into the Winiewicz vehicle. Ashley Winiewicz, 16, who was driving the family's Kia at the time, survived the crash, as did Romano's 25-year-old passenger.

Romano, of the 15000 block of Russell Road, faces up to five years in prison if found guilty of three counts of reckless homicide with a motor vehicle. He also is charged with one count of aggravated reckless driving resulting in bodily harm.

Assistant Lake County State's Attorneys Michael Ori and Lauren Walker did not comment Thursday after Rossetti's decision.

Romano's lawyers contend the Kia turned in front of their client's pickup truck as it legally drove through the intersection on a yellow light.

Romano, who is free on $10,000 bond, is scheduled to return to court April 28.

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