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Sentencing hearing for Black continued after testimony

Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014 3:01 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, March 21, 2014 9:07 a.m. CDT
(Provided photo)
Benjamin Black, 29, of Sycamore, had his sentencing hearing continued until Wednesday.

ST. CHARLES – After hours of testimony from several witnesses Thursday, Kane County Circuit Judge James Hallock postponed sentencing for Benjamin Black, a Sycamore man convicted of aggravated driving under the influence in a 2013 crash that killed a Sycamore boy.

The sentencing hearing for Black, 29, will resume at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Kane County Courthouse.

Black was driving a Ford Expedition on Route 64 in Kane County about 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 27, 2013, when he smashed into the back of a Chevrolet Cavalier carrying 11-year-old Matthew Ranken, who died as a result.

An analysis of Black’s urine by the Illinois State Police crime lab found heroin in Black’s system. He has pleaded guilty to aggravated DUI in connection with the crash.

At the hearing, Matthew’s mother Tonda Ranken read a statement. She told stories about Matthew's relationship with her and with his brothers. Matthew was a Chicago Bears fan and played sports with his brother, Chris.

Members of the Ranken family, including Tonda, struggled with depression after Matthew's death and sought counseling, she said.

"My family was destroyed that night," she said.

Black also read a statement, in which he offered an apology for what had happened. He did not ask for forgiveness, just for the family to accept his apology.

"Not a day goes by where I don't think about Matthew," he said. "I accept the consequences because I owe it to Matthew."

Prosecutors called other witnesses at the hearing, including a forensic scientist from the state police, and an officer who responded to the crash that night.  

After the testimony was concluded, Hallock said there was a lot of information to consider and he would continue the hearing on Wednesday.

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