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Sentence reduced for Black in crash that killed Sycamore boy

Published: Thursday, April 24, 2014 2:33 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, April 24, 2014 2:40 p.m. CDT
Benjamin Black, 29, formerly of Sycamore, had his sentence reduced to 9 years in prison Thursday.

ST. CHARLES – Benjamin Black's sentence in connection with a crash that killed 11-year-old Matthew Ranken of Sycamore was reduced Thursday from 12 to 9 years in prison.

Kane County Judge James Hallock reduced the sentence, agreeing with Black's argument on appeal that Hallock should not have considered that the crash led to injury or death when he issued the sentence in March.

The sentencing range Black faced – three to 14 years in prison – was based on the crash causing a death, so it should not have been considered a second time in sentencing, Black said in the appeal filed by his lawyer, D.J. Tegeler.

The revised sentence gives Black credit for time served, and will include two years' probation after he is released.

Tegeler had asked Hallock to reduce Black's sentence to 8 years.

Black pleaded guilty to aggravated DUI in November in connection with the February 2013 crash that killed Matthew and injured Teale Noble, now 19, of Sycamore.

Black was driving his SUV about 7:30 p.m. that night near the intersection of Route 64 and Peplow Road in Kane County when he crashed into the back of a Chevrolet Cavalier, in which Matthew and Noble were passengers, authorities said.

Matthew's mother, Tonda Ranken, was visibly upset and broke down as she left the courtroom.

After the hearing, Tegeler said Black still struggles with the crash he caused and its aftermath.

"Mr. Black is pleased with today's decision, but still has problems realizing the harm he has caused," Tegeler said. "He still has trouble forgiving himself for what has occurred."

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