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Driver in fatal crash wants bond reduced

Published: Friday, May 17, 2013 1:30 p.m. CST • Updated: Saturday, May 18, 2013 12:23 a.m. CST

ST. CHARLES – The 28-year-old Sycamore man accused of having heroin in his system during the crash that killed 11-year-old Matthew Ranken is asking a judge to reduce his $250,000 bond.

Benjamin Black's defense attorney, D.J. Tegeler, filed court documents May 9 asking for a personal recognizance bond, which would require Black to post no money to be releasedc, but Tegeler said he would ask for a reasonable bond at Black's next court date June 26. He was unsure Friday what that amount would be.

Black, of the 1500 block of Sparkhayes Drive in Sycamore, remains in Kane County Jail on $250,000 bond; he is required to post $25,000 to be released while the case is pending.

Black was charged May 7 with three counts of felony aggravated DUI in connection with the death of one person and the severe injury to another, and driving without insurance, on Feb. 27. Ranken, a fifth-grader at North Elementary School in Sycamore, was pronounced dead the day of the crash, and another passenger in his car, Teale Noble, 18, of Sycamore, suffered a fractured skull.

A few weeks after the crash, Black was charged in DeKalb County with stealing more than $4,000 of coiled copper and brass March 11 in Cortland. That case remains pending.

In Kane County court documents, Tegeler argued that although his client is employed, Black is unable to raise $25,000.

"The amount of the bond set is a hardship on the defendant and violates the defendant's right to a presumption of innocence … [and] impairs the ability of the defendant to assemble witnesses for is defense, which is fundamental to his right to a fair trial," Tegeler said in the court filing.

Kane County Assistant State's Attorney Joseph Cullen said prosecutors would oppose a recognizance bond.

"We have not agreed to anything at this time," Cullen said, regarding the possibility of any reduction in Black's bond.

Black was driving a 1999 Ford Expedition about 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27 when he hit the rear of 1999

Chevrolet Cavalier on Route 64 west of Peplow Road in west-central Kane County, police said.

Two other cars were struck in a chain-reaction crash as a result of the Cavalier being hit, but those drivers were treated at the scene, police said. The Cavalier was stopped because of a traffic backup from an earlier crash a mile away. Police also noted that the road was covered with blowing and drifting snow.

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