ST. CHARLES, Ill. (STMW) — A Sycamore man has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for driving under the influence of heroin and killing an 11-year-old boy last year.
Benjamin Black, 29, was sentenced to 12 years in prison Wednesday for the Feb. 27, 2013, crash that killed 11-year-old Matthew Ranken, according to the Kane County State’s Attorney’s office. Black pleaded guilty to aggravated DUI in December.
According to police testimony, Matthew had been riding in the back seat of a 1999 Chevrolet Cavalier driven by his brother, Nicholas Weber, when they happened upon an accident on Route 64, west of Peplow Road in unincorporated Virgil Township, just before 7:30 p.m.
The vehicle was the last car in a row of about 15 that had stopped, waiting for emergency crews to clear the scene of the crash.
That’s when police said Black, driving about 55 mph, failed to slow down for the stopped vehicle, and drove into the back of Weber’s car, causing a chain-reaction crash.
Sgt. John Grimes of the Kane County Sheriff’s Department responded to the crash. When he recalled what he saw that evening, Grimes’ eyes welled-up with tears on the witness stand.
“I busted out the back window (of Weber’s vehicle), climbed in, and couldn’t tell if (Matthew) had a pulse or not,” Grimes said.
On the scene, Black told officers that he had tried to slow down when he saw the emergency vehicles and the line of stopped cars, but that he slid on a patch of ice, causing his vehicle to rear-end Weber’s car. Police said there was no indication that he had tried to stop, or that there was ice on the road.
Black submitted urine and blood samples following the crash, and experts testified that heroin metabolites and Xanax were present in his blood at the time of the crash.
Black has admitted to using heroin 24 hours before the crash occurred. He eventually pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated drunken driving.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)