Digital Access

Digital Access
Access from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more!

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, prep sports scores, school closings, weather, and more.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Sign up for free e-newsletters today.
Crime & Courts

Kane County State's Attorney: Driver in fatal crash had heroin in his system

Sycamore man charged with aggravated DUI in crash that killed Matthew Ranken

A Sycamore man is accused of having heroin in his system when he plowed into a Chevrolet Cavalier, killing an 11-year-old Sycamore boy and severely injuring an 18-year-old Sycamore woman.

Benjamin Black, 28, of the 1500 block of Sparkhayes Drive in Sycamore, was charged Monday with multiple counts of aggravated driving under the influence of a controlled substance in connection with the Feb. 27 crash that killed Matthew Ranken and that cracked Teale Noble's skull, according to a news release from the Kane County State's Attorney's Office.

Black's 1999 Ford Expedition smashed into the back of the Cavalier carrying Ranken, his brother – Nicholas Weber, 21, of Sycamore – and Noble, Weber's girlfriend, authorities said. The Cavalier had been westbound on Route 64 in Kane County about 7:30 p.m. when it stopped for traffic backed up because of a crash about a mile away.

Ranken, a fifth-grader at North Elementary School in Sycamore, was pronounced dead the same day at Kishwaukee Community Hospital in DeKalb.

Heroin metabolites were found in a sample of Black's urine taken immediately after the crash, the news release states. That typically means a person had recently consumed heroin, but it doesn't necessarily mean they were feeling the affects of the drug at that particular time.

If convicted of the most serious charge he faces, Black could be sentenced to up to 14 years in prison.

He remains in Kane County jail unable to post 10 percent of his $250,000 bail. His next court date there is Thursday.

In DeKalb County, a judge removed Black from an electronic monitoring program Tuesday, court records show. He had been on the home monitoring since March 25 as part of his bail conditions for a felony theft case. Black is accused of stealing more than $4,000 of coiled copper and brass March 11 in Cortland.

A deputy involved with the home monitoring program tried to kick him out April 4 after a friend found Black passed out in her car after she ran into Walgreen to get hypodermic syringes, court records show. The friend thought he looked like he had shot up heroin, but Black told authorities he had taken a painkiller and cough syrup with codeine. He tested positive for opiates.

On April 11, a DeKalb County judge decided to keep him in the home monitoring program but ordered that he submit to random drug tests, court records show.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect that Black is accused of having heroin in his system at the time of the crash. A previous version incorrectly stated he was accused of being high on heroin at the time of the crash.

Loading more