Driver gets 15-month prison term for crash that seriously injured state trooper
A 23-year-old Joliet man will serve half of a 15-month prison sentence for violating Scott's Law in connection with a 2021 crash that seriously injured state Trooper Brian Frank.
Will County Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak handed the sentence down to Angel Casillas on Tuesday, about a month after he pleaded guilty to violating the law, which requires drivers approaching stopped emergency vehicles to proceed "with due caution" and either change lanes or reduce speed.
Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow said the sentence was "the best we could have expected today."
Glasgow said Scott's Law could use tweaking to include aggravating factors that account for the great bodily harm and permanent disability that exists in the case involving Frank. He also recommended the state pay for the $120,000 bill incurred by Frank's wife, Lauren, for accessibility improvements made to their home.
"I wish I could do it. I have forfeiture funds but I can't really allocate it for that particular purpose," Glasgow said. "But we got to get Springfield to pay that bill and to pay the bills necessary for the proper care of Trooper Frank."
In a statement read by Illinois State Police Capt. Dave Keltner, Lauren Frank thanked Bertani-Tomczak for the thoughtfulness that went into her sentencing decision.
"There's no fine or time served that will ever rectify what Brian and our family has and continue to endure. We are thankful that the incident was seen seriously and that justice was delivered accordingly," the statement reads.
Casillas crashed into the rear of Frank's vehicle Feb. 15, 2021, along Interstate 55 near Plainfield. Frank had stopped to provide assistance in a separate crash.
Frank spent more than two years in hospitals and rehabilitation facilities while enduring brain surgeries, pneumonia and other complications. In May, he moved into a Lemont home that was modified to meet his medical needs, but he returned to the hospital a few days later with pneumonia.
Casillas faced a maximum three-year prison sentence, which was sought by prosecutors.
Cosmo Tedone, Casillas' attorney, sought probation, noting that his client never had a speeding ticket and had been struggling with his brother's suicide and other family issues at the time of the crash.
Bertani-Tomczak said the evidence demonstrated that Casillas could have safely avoided Frank's patrol vehicle and had been distracted for a significant period before the crash.
"I thought long and hard on the appropriate sentence in this case," she said.
A sentence of probation would deprecate the seriousness of Casillas' offense and not serve the ends of justice, the judge said.
The courtroom was packed on Tuesday with state troopers there in support of Frank. Lauren Frank also was in attendance.