GENOA – A 44-year-old Rockford man was charged with felony DUI in connection to the crash that killed a 34-year-old Sugar Grove man and injured five others.
Howard Castleman, of the 2900 block of Sunnyside Road in Rockford, was charged with felony aggravated driving under the influence, driving under the influence and improper lane use, DeKalb County Chief Deputy Gary Dumdie said. He was taken to DeKalb County Jail after being treated at Kishwaukee Community Hospital.
Police suspect Castleman was under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash, Dumdie said. His bail was set at $500,000 Thursday, which requires posting $50,000 for release while the case is pending. The most serious charge typically is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.
More charges could be filed after police receive lab test results and consult with prosecutors, Dumdie said.
Castleman’s 2007 Freightliner two-axle truck was traveling south on Route 23 south of Lloyd Road about 6:15 p.m. when he drove into the northbound lane and struck another truck head-on, Dumdie said. Two other vehicles driving behind the northbound truck – a Chevrolet Impala and a Chrysler Town and Country minivan – each struck the vehicle in front of it.
Ryan E. Martin of Sugar Grove was pronounced dead at the scene about 6:50 p.m., DeKalb County Coroner Dennis Miller said. He was driving a 2002 box truck for Nick’s Furniture in Sugar Grove.
Nick Bumba, owner of Nick’s Furniture, described Martin as a reliable employee and a great father to his 3-year-old son.
“Ryan was just a very good person, all the way around, in every sense of the word,” Bumba said. “He was hardworking, dependable and very reliable.
“We’re heartbroken. I’m personally heartbroken. He was a good man.”
Castleman and four others – a passenger in Martin’s truck, the driver and passenger in the Impala and the driver in the minivan – were taken to Kishwaukee Community Hospital and later released. They were: Michael J. Roberson, 18, of Sugar Grove; Susan K. Springer, 43, of Genoa; a 13-year-old Genoa girl; and Wendy Harms, 48, of Genoa.
Castleman was driving a truck for Straight Shot Express, which contracts with UPS to haul oversized freight.
Route 23 was closed between Base Line and Whipple roads until midnight as emergency crews worked.
Snow or slick roads did not appear to play a role in the accident, Dumdie said.