Aurora man admits to DUI crash that killed 9-year-old girl

  • Anthony S. Potochney faces a prison term of up to 14 years when sentenced on Jan. 16.

    Anthony S. Potochney faces a prison term of up to 14 years when sentenced on Jan. 16.

 
 
Updated 10/27/2017 5:30 PM

An Aurora man has admitted to driving drunk and causing a crash that killed a 9-year-old girl and injured two others in downtown Aurora in October 2016.

Anthony S. Potochney, 26, faces up to 14 years in prison when he's sentenced in January by Kane County Judge Linda Abrahamson and must serve 85 percent of his term instead of the 50 percent that accompanies most felony offenses.

 

Potochney pleaded guilty Friday to four felony counts in causing the death of Katelyn Jonak of Aurora. The charges he pleaded guilty to are: three counts of felony aggravated DUI and failure to stop after an accident involving personal injury or death.

Potochney had been held at the Kane County jail on $350,000 bail since his arrest immediately after the crash in 2016. Bail was revoked after his guilty plea.

According to police and court records, Potochney was drunk and high on marijuana while driving his 2003 Cadillac Deville south on Broadway Avenue just south of Pierce Street about 9:10 p.m. Oct. 9, 2016, when he crossed into oncoming traffic.

Tonia Jonak was driving a 2009 Toyota Sienna minivan and was unable to avoid Potochney's car. It struck the passenger side of the minivan and sent the minivan crashing into a building on Broadway, police said.

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Potochney ran from the wreck, but police arrested him near the High Street Bridge that crosses the train tracks. Katelyn died at a hospital 30 minutes later.

At the Jan. 16 sentencing hearing, attorneys will present mitigating and aggravating factors that can influence the sentence issued by Abrahamson.

John Jonak, the victim's father, sued Potochney for damages for wrongful death. Potochney did not have insurance when he crashed, but the family had a $50,000 policy for uninsured motorists. The case was settled in September 2017 with the family receiving $50,000 payment from its own insurance carrier.

The lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice, meaning the Jonaks can sue Potochney again within the statue of limitations, which expires in October 2018.

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