Geneva business owner sued over fatal DUI crash

 
 
Posted10/4/2010 12:01 AM

A Geneva business owner is being sued for his role in a drunken driving crash that killed a distant relative.

Richard E. Campbell filed the wrongful-death lawsuit in Kane County last week on behalf of his son, Ryan Campbell, of Burlington.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The 24-year-old was killed in an Oct. 11, 2008 crash involving his brother-in-law's uncle, Earl G. Wilkison, who owns EcoWater Systems in Geneva.

Wilkison, 59, of Elburn, pleaded guilty in January to reckless homicide and aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol.

The suit accuses him of being negligent and impaired when he ran a stop sign at Route 47 and Beith Road in Campton Township and broadsided Ryan Campbell's pickup truck.

Campbell's father is seeking more than $50,000 in damages for his son's next-of-kin, which includes his mother, two sisters and a brother.

"The family is devastated," attorney Joseph Loran said. "Their lives have been dramatically affected by this."

In April, Wilkison was sentenced to four years of probation and 12 months in a program that requires him to spend his free time in the county jail.

At the sentencing hearing, Campbell's sister testified that she and Campbell saw Wilkison a few months before the accident and urged him not to drive because he appeared drunk. She said Wilkison told them he was OK to drive.

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Wilkison could not be reached for comment. The lawsuit is due in court Dec. 16.

Sex case indictment: A grand jury has indicted a Florida man accused of traveling to Huntley to have sex with a 14-year-old girl he met online.

Ervin Betancourt, 18, of Miramar, Fla., was indicted in McHenry County Thursday on charges of grooming (enticing a minor into sex) and criminal sexual abuse.

Authorities arrested Betancourt in Dalton, Ga., after the victim's family reported her as a runaway in August.

Police said the investigation showed Betancourt and the girl had corresponded for several months leading up to the face-to-face encounter in Huntley, after which they both boarded a bus bound for Florida.

Last month, a judge cited Betancourt's limited criminal history in allowing him to return home while his case is pending.

If convicted of the most serious charge, Betancourt could face one to three years in prison. He is scheduled for arraignment Oct. 13.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Free legal advice: The Kane County Bar Association's popular "Ask A Lawyer Day" returns Saturday.

Free consultations with volunteer attorneys will be available by phone between 9 a.m. and noon at (630) 762-1900.

This program has been a monthly event since 2008 due to its popularity. The bar association said callers should keep trying if lines are busy.

For more information, visit kanecountybar.org.

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