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Police: 16-Year-Old Girl Killed In Crash During Drag Race

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Michael Dawson (left) and Jeremy Betancourt (right) were allegedly drag racing in Gurnee, when Betancourt's car went airborne and rolled over in a ditch, killing a 16-year-old girl riding in the back seat. Betancourt faces reckless homicide charges. (Credit: Gurnee Police)

Michael Dawson (left) and Jeremy Betancourt (right) were allegedly drag racing in Gurnee, when Betancourt’s car went airborne and rolled over in a ditch, killing a 16-year-old girl riding in the back seat. Betancourt faces reckless homicide charges. (Credit: Gurnee Police)

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GURNEE, Ill. (STMW) – A teenage drag race turned tragic Monday night when one of the cars went airborne and rolled over, leaving a north suburban girl dead, three other people injured and both drivers in jail facing felony charges.

Cynthia N. Perez, 16, of Antioch was a rear-seat passenger in the vehicle that was speeding before a crash on Route 120 in Gurnee, according to Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd.

The accident happened 8:19 p.m. on Route 120, just east of Hunt Club Road, according to a statement from Gurnee police.

Police said the black 2004 Honda Civic was eastbound on Route 120, racing a red 2000 Ford Focus when the driver of the Honda lost control. The car is believed to have gone airborne, then rolled over in the median ditch between the east- and westbound lanes before coming to rest in the westbound lanes.

The Honda had four occupants, including Perez, who was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene, according to Rudd.

A 20-year-old man was also ejected from the vehicle and taken to Condell Hospital in Libertyville in serious condition, according to the coroner. A 17-year-old boy and an 18-year-old man were also taken to Condell with non-life-threatening injuries.

The drivers of both vehicles were arrested, police said.

Jeremy A. Betancourt, 17, of 41758 N. Circle Dr. in Antioch, the driver of the Honda, has been charged with reckless homicide and aggravated street racing, both felonies, according to police. He was also cited for driving without a valid driver’s license and driving an uninsured vehicle.

The driver of the Ford, Michael R. Dawson, 19, of 431 Filweber Ct. in Antioch, was charged with aggravated street racing and cited for operating a vehicle with expired registration.

Betancourt and Dawson appeared in Lake County Court on Tuesday morning, where both were ordered held at the Lake County Jail on $250,000 bonds, according to police.

An autopsy on Perez was scheduled for Tuesday, Rudd said.

The accident remains under investigation and police ask anyone with information to call (847) 599-7000.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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