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updated: 7/25/2013 7:41 PM

Prosecutor wants driver's probation revoked

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  • Michael Dawson

    Michael Dawson

  • Jeremy A. Betancourt

    Jeremy A. Betancourt

  • Cynthia Perez

    Cynthia Perez


An Antioch-area teen was on probation when he was involved in a street race that killed an Antioch High School student in Gurnee, officials said Thursday.

Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Lauren Kalcheim-Rothenberg filed a motion to revoke the probation of Michael Dawson, 19, and asked that he be resentenced to prison for up to one year for a battery charge he pleaded guilty to in September 2012.

Dawson, of the 25000 block of Herman Drive in unincorporated Antioch Township, pleaded not guilty during Thursday's arraignment hearing to charges of reckless homicide and aggravated street racing in the June 24 street race that killed Cynthia Perez, 16, of Antioch, and injured two other people.

He remains held in Lake County jail in lieu of $250,000 bail. He must post 10 percent to be released, authorities said.

Dawson could be sentenced up to 12 years in prison if found guilty of the most serious charge of aggravated street racing when the case goes to trial, tentatively scheduled for Aug. 19.

Dawson and 17-year-old Jeremy Betancourt were drag racing on Route 120 near Hunt Club Road in Gurnee on June 24 when Betancourt lost control of his vehicle, slid into the center median, and rolled over, authorities said.

Perez and her boyfriend, Gio Bustos, 20, were not wearing seat belts and fell out of the back window when the car rolled over.

Bustos, Betancourt, and a third unidentified male were injured in the crash and taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville. Perez was pronounced dead at the scene.

Betancourt, of the 41000 block of North Circle Drive, was charged with reckless homicide, aggravated street racing and an additional charge of aggravated DUI because a blood test showed Betancourt had marijuana in his system after the crash, authorities said.

Despite two attempts by prosecutors to keep him in jail, Betancourt's bail was lowered from $250,000 to $100,000 in previous hearings, allowing family members to post the required 10 percent.

However, as part of the bail conditions set, Betancourt was forced to enroll in a behavioral health facility in Streamwood.

Perez's mother, Hilda Hinkle, said she remains determined to see that both drivers spend time in prison.

"My baby girl Cynthia ... is never going to smile, grow up, or have a family of her own," Hinkle said in a written statement following Thursday's arraignment hearing. "They need to go to jail so this will not happen to another family.

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