Warrant seeks info on whether truck driver was distracted in Batavia fatal limo crash

Updated 10/9/2018 5:36 PM

Police want to know if the driver of a box truck was distracted when he hit and killed a Montgomery man and injured another person near Randall Road and Fabyan Parkway on Sept. 14 in Batavia.

Authorities did not find evidence of any skid marks created by braking before the early morning crash that closed a stretch of Randall Road for five hours, so they have obtained search warrants for the driver's personal and work cellphone data, call logs an other functions to determine if they were in use at the time.

"In (responding officer's) experience, the action of looking down while driving can be indicative of cellphone usage by the driver," a Batavia police officer wrote in an affidavit used to secure a search warrant for the 46-year-old La Grange Park man's two phones.

The warrant, recently unsealed in Kane County court records, was obtained by authorities to investigate a possible case of felony reckless homicide in the crash, which killed 29-year-old Nicholas Ortiz. The Daily Herald is not naming the truck driver because he has not been charged criminally in the crash.

According to the affidavit, a limousine driver was headed north on Randall Road approaching Fabyan Parkway about 4:45 a.m. when he moved to the right for an ambulance. The limo driver saw another car was not slowing down or pulling over for the ambulance, so he pulled over more to the right to avoid being hit from behind. The limo got stuck in a ditch with the vehicle's rear partially blocking a northbound lane, the affidavit said.

Ortiz pulled over his Chevy Camaro, as did the driver of a Toyota Prius, and they tried to push the limousine in an effort to get it out of the ditch when the driver of an Oberweis box truck struck Ortiz, the other man and the limo, according to the affidavit.

Ortiz died from his injuries; the other man was taken to Delnor Hospital in Geneva and was later moved to Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove for treatment, the affidavit said.

The truck driver told police he was going north and down the hill on Randall, past the Mill Street intersection. "He looked down at the truck's speedometer while shifting down to slow the vehicle. The truck then collided with the other vehicles," read part of the affidavit. "Members of the Kane County Accident Reconstruction Team responded to the scene and were unable to locate any evidence of skid marks created by the truck braking prior to the collision."

The truck driver was issued a citation for going too fast for conditions/failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. He is due in traffic court in Kane County on Oct. 16.

Batavia police Detective Michelle Langston said authorities have subpoenaed other witnesses and information. "The investigation is still ongoing at this point," she said, noting she did not have a time frame for its conclusion.

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