Judge: Round Lake man faces lengthy prison term if convicted
A Round Lake Beach man accused of killing a motorcyclist and injuring two women while driving drunk should plan to spend at least 20 years in prison if he is convicted, a Lake County judge said Wednesday.
Vicente Torres-Vasquez, 48, is charged with reckless homicide and multiple counts of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol in a July 24 crash on Route 176 in Wauconda.
Police said Torres-Vasquez drove his Ford Explorer out of a parking lot and into the path of an eastbound motorcycle, killing the motorcycle driver Gregory Homola, 55, of Lake Geneva, Wis.
Torres-Vasquez's vehicle then careened into a car in the westbound lanes, sending two women inside the car to the hospital with injuries.
Tests after the crashes showed Torres-Vasquez had a blood-alcohol level of 0.28 percent, more than three times the legal threshold of .08 percent.
Lawyers on both sides of the case held a closed-door meeting Wednesday with Circuit Judge Fred Foreman to discuss the facts and possible resolutions.
After the meeting, Foreman returned to open court and told Torres-Vasquez what had been discussed.
Foreman said assistant state's attorneys Patricia Fix and Scott Hoffert had convinced him the case against Torres-Vasquez contained enough aggravating factors to warrant an extended term of 26 years in prison if he was convicted after a trial.
Court records show Torres-Vasquez was convicted of DUI three times in 2007 and 2008 and was sentenced to jail and probation each time.
Torres-Vasquez also failed to appear for a deportation hearing ordered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in July 2009.
Foreman told Torres-Vasquez he was informed there have been discussions of a plea agreement between prosecutors and Torres-Vasquez's attorney, Christopher Lombardo of Waukegan.
Foreman said he would be willing to accept a negotiated plea of guilty in the case, but only if it provided for a prison sentence of at least 20 years.
Both Lombardo and the prosecutors declined to comment on the negotiations, but Fix said outside the courtroom she was convinced Foreman understood the seriousness of the case.
"We are glad that the judge accepted our view of the facts of this case," Fix said. "It is a 10 out of 10 when it comes to aggravation."
Foreman ordered Torres-Vasquez, who is held on $2 million bail, to appear in court March 14.
A trial has been scheduled for April 2.