Judge refuses to increase bail in fatal 135 mph Wheaton crash
A DuPage County judge Wednesday refused a motion by prosecutors to increase bail for the 62-year-old Warrenville man charged with triggering a deadly crash last month while traveling 135 mph along Butterfield Road in Wheaton.
In a petition filed last week, prosecutors asked Judge George Bakalis to boost Brian Thunderkick's bail from the $150,000 set by Judge Joseph Bugos to $2 million in light of new information and the likelihood of additional charges.
But Bakalis said the petition did not include enough new evidence for him to consider the increase without additional charges being filed.
"File the other charges and I'll consider raising the bond," Bakalis told Assistant State's Attorney Kristin Johnston. "And the only charge that would affect my judgment would be aggravated driving under the influence."
Thunderkick currently is charged with reckless homicide. Johnston said prosecutors are prepared to file aggravated battery and attempted leaving the scene of a deadly accident charges, but the investigation continues into whether they will charge Thunderkick with aggravated driving under the influence of drugs.
Johnston also played a dashboard video camera recording, captured by an off-duty River Grove police officer, that shows Thunderkick's Chevy Camaro racing past his car and eventually crashing into the rear of a Honda Accord driven by 22-year-old Erika Villagomez of Elgin, who died in the fiery crash.
"What the ... is he running from?" the officer can be heard saying as Thunderkick's car races past him. "Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!"
The crash occurred about 11 a.m. Sept. 30 on Butterfield Road just east of Naperville Road.
The Accord burst into flames and Villagomez was trapped inside.
Authorities said Villagomez was screaming for help as officers and civilians tried to rescue her. She died before she could be pulled from the wreckage.
The off-duty officer who recorded the crash said Thunderkick sped past him on the right shoulder of westbound Butterfield near Leask Lane before crossing back into traffic and rear-ending Villagomez's car.
Johnston said the DUI kit performed on Thunderkick is "being rushed" but is not complete. A test of Thunderkick's urine, however, came back positive for barbiturates.
Johnston told Bakalis investigators have yet to locate a prescription for Thunderkick.
Police searched Thunderkick's home on the 2S000 block of Pierre Curie Lane and found multiple pill bottles for prescriptions made out to his ex-wife and a note on his nightstand that read "if you need Norco call me," the petition states.
Thunderkick's attorney, Brad Telander, said his client suffers from tremors and seizures. The medication Thunderkick takes for that disorder, Telander said, would test positive for barbiturates.
Investigators discovered after getting a search warrant for the car's "black box" that the Camaro was traveling at 135 mph upon impact.
During an interview with Wheaton police, Thunderkick told officers he "wanted to open it up" and had the gas pedal "all the way down."
Johnston said Thunderkick also told officers he thinks his "next car should be a Mustang" and "nothing" should happen to him as a result of this case.
Prosecutors also gave more details Wednesday, for the first time, about Thunderkick's 1973 voluntary manslaughter conviction in Kane County.
"This is now the second life this defendant has taken," Johnston said. "In 1973, after a dispute with a co-worker, he shot the co-worker, killing him."
An unidentified woman sitting in the gallery shouted "There was no shooting," before exiting the courtroom.
Thunderkick is next due in court on Oct. 30.