Aurora man charged in crash that killed 9-year-old girl

  • Anthony Potochney of Aurora faces numerous charges in connection with a fatal crash that killed a 9-year-old girl.

    Anthony Potochney of Aurora faces numerous charges in connection with a fatal crash that killed a 9-year-old girl.

Daily Herald report
Updated 10/10/2016 5:21 PM

A 25-year-old Aurora man faces seven felony charges in connection with a Friday night crash that killed a 9-year-old girl and injured two other children, according to authorities and court records.

Anthony S. Potochney, of the 900 block of North Avenue, is charged with four counts of aggravated DUI, two counts of DUI, and one count of leaving the scene of a crash, police said. Authorities have not ruled out upgraded charges.


The girl, Katie Jonak, of Aurora, was a passenger in a 2009 Toyota Sienna minivan. The van was heading north about 9:10 p.m. on Broadway Avenue just south of Pierce Street near downtown when a southbound 2003 Cadillac Deville driven by Potochney drifted into the northbound lanes, authorities said.

The driver of the Sienna, the child's 40-year-old mother, Tonia Jonak, unsuccessfully tried to avoid the Cadillac by making a sharp left turn.

The Cadillac hit the minivan on its passenger side where Katie was sitting. Tonia Jonak was not able to stop the minivan until she hit a building on the west side of Broadway.

Potochney ran from the crash scene but was taken into custody without incident near the High Street Bridge that crosses the Burlington Northern Railroad tracks a short distance away. Witnesses helped police with descriptions of the man that aided in his apprehension.

Police said Potochney displayed signs of intoxication when taken into custody.

Aurora paramedics took Katie, along with her two friends ages 10 and 12, to Presence Mercy Medical Center. Katie was pronounced dead at 9:44 p.m. The other two children suffered injuries that were not life-threatening.

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Katie's mother refused medical treatment.

Potochney was taken to Rush Copley Medical Center for injuries that were not life-threatening.

Katie, her mom and the two other girls were apparently on their way home from a church function when the crash occurred, police said.

According to Kane County court records, Potochney was arrested and charged with aggravated battery to a person over 60 -- a felony that carries a punishment ranging from probation to up to five years in prison -- in November 2013. He pleaded guilty in May 2014 and was sentenced to two years' probation and court fines.

He also was cited for underage drinking in Aurora on August 2009 and paid a $200 fine, records show, and has previous tickets for no insurance, speeding and screeching/squealing tires, records show.

Potochney is being held at the Kane County jail on $750,000 bail, meaning he must post $75,000 to be released while the charges are pending.

If convicted of the most severe DUI charge, he faces three to 14 years in prison. Potochney is next due in court on Friday.

• Daily Herald staff writer Harry Hitzeman contributed to this report.

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