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Local

Police report, narratives provide more detail of Oct. 12 haywagon crash near Plano

Sheriff’s officials reminds drivers to be alert of farm machinery on roadways

UPDATED 11:30 A.M. WEDNESDAY, OCT. 30:

YORKVILLE – Recently released narratives from a Kendall County Sheriff's report further detail the circumstances of a crash earlier this month involving a vehicle rear-ending a hay wagon being pulled by a tractor near Plano.

The crash report, which was obtained by Record Newspapers through a Freedom of Information Act request, included narratives from law enforcement, the driver of the black sedan and its passenger, drivers who were behind the black sedan and witnessed the crash, the driver of the tractor, and passengers on the hayride regarding the Oct. 12 crash, which occurred on River Road near Blackhawk Road in unincorporated Little Rock Township. The black sedan ended up upside down after rear-ending the haywagon, and 11 occupants of the hay wagon that were ejected from the wagon were transported to area hospitals.

Kaitlin Minick, 22, of the 800 block of West Hillcrest Drive in DeKalb, who was the driver of the black sedan that hit the haywagon, said in her statement she was driving toward Sandwich while taking a friend home from work and listening to music in the car. She said in her statement she was going 45 mph on the roadway at about 5:30 p.m. Oct. 12, the approximate time of the accident.

“I do not remember seeing any lights or anything," Minick wrote. "I believe I was going over a hill and then I woke up upside down.”

According to Kendall County documents, the County Board passed an ordinance Sept. 18, 2018 lowering the speed limit from 50 to 45 mph on River Road from Fox River Drive to Yorkville city limits.

GPS files from a smart watch worn by one of the hayride passengers showed the tractor was going 18 mph before the accident, according to several statements in the report. Witnesses also wrote that slow moving vehicle signs were also part of the scattered debris found at the scene.

Drivers that were behind Minick at the time of the accident said in their statements the sun glare was strong that day. However, one hayride passenger said in his statement he traveled the route the black sedan drove in "near identical" weather conditions at 5:35 p.m. two days later and submitted a recorded video of that drive with his statement to the sheriff's office.

“The purpose of video was to show that the sun was not blinding and that a driver could clearly see and have enough perception/reaction time to slow/stop,” the passenger wrote.

Police said in the statements Minick's car was towed at the scene and placed on investigative hold after the crash.

Kendall County Sheriff's Dep. Nancy Velez said Minick's cell phone wasn't confiscated at the scene and the sheriff's office doesn't have possession of it within evidence currently.

Police said in multiple narratives there were opened and unopened alcohol containers found scattered on the roadway, along with coolers, a garbage can with alcohol containers inside, hay bales and other various debris.

The narratives also said Minick consented to a driving under the influence blood and urine test, which was administered due to the severity of the accident, but Minick did not show any signs of being intoxicated at the scene. Velez said the test results have not been returned yet and it's unclear when they will be returned.

“We would have to wait for the state crime lab to take care of it and then they will send it to us,” Velez said.

Sheriff's deputies also said in the narratives they found a red solo cup with a small amount of liquid in it inside the tractor. However, deputies said, there was no odor of alcohol coming from the cup.

The update comes after Kendall County sheriff's officials reminded the community to be alert for slow moving farm equipment on county roadways more than two weeks after the crash.

“It's just a reminder for farmers and drivers [themselves], what consequences there could be and the cautions of” sharing the road with slow moving farming equipment, Velez said.

Gary M. Sleezer, 48, of the 12000 block of Andrew Street in Plano, who was the tractor driver, previously was issued a traffic citation for operating a farm tractor on a roadway when it was not being used in connection with farming operations. That follows Minick being cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident following the incident.

There is still no confirmation from official agencies about the conditions of those involved in the crash. Sheriff's Office officials did not release names of those transported to area hospitals and treatment centers following a separate Oct. 16 Freedom of Information Act request from Record Newspapers.

Velez said the case regarding the crash is still open and she declined comment on potential additional charges related to the incident. She said new information regarding the crash will be released by the sheriff's office as soon as it becomes available.

Sleezer is due in court 8:30 a.m. Nov. 12 at the Kendall County Courthouse, 807 John St. Minick is due back in court 8:30 a.m. Nov. 21.

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