Christopher M. Yeoman
Updated: May 8, 2014 9:40AM
A Lemont resident was sentenced Friday to 18 years in prison for punching a man during a June 2011 road-rage incident, causing a head injury that eventually led to the man’s death.
A Will County jury in February convicted Christopher Yeoman, 41, of second-degree murder in the death of Frank Egas, who died several months after being struck by Yeoman during the traffic dispute in Romeoville.
Assistant State’s Attorney Chris Koch said the incident should be an example for all that there’s no excuse for road rage just because a driver cuts another driver off.
“We need to send a message to everyone,” Koch said. “(Road rage) is not tolerated here.”
Evidence at trial showed that Yeoman, his wife and three children were in a minivan behind a car driven by Egas, 63, at a stoplight at New Avenue and Romeo Road. When Egas didn’t go when a right-turn arrow turned green, Yeoman honked his horn and Egas made an obscene gesture at him, according to Romeoville police.
Yeoman followed Egas and both stopped near 135th Street and Illinois 53, got out of their vehicles, and Yeoman ran up to Egas and struck him in the head, knocking him down and causing his head to hit the pavement, witnesses said during trial.
Egas died several months later of severe brain injuries, and his death was ruled a homicide.
At Friday’s sentencing hearing, Yeoman apologized to the Egas family.
“I certainly did not think in a million years that one punch would result in this,” he said. “If I can take back what I did, I certainly would.”
Prior to issuing the sentence, Circuit Court Judge Sarah Jones heard from two of Yeoman’s friends, who said he never displayed any violent tendencies.
The judge also heard from several of Egas’ family members, including his daughter who said her father never had the chance to walk her down the aisle to get married.
“A piece of me died with him,” she said.
Yeoman’s attorney, Clifford Johnson, argued that Yeoman was simply defending his family from an aggressive Egas, but prosecutors pointed to trial testimony that Yeoman was the aggressor.
Jones also sentenced Yeoman to five years for aggravated battery against a senior citizen, five years for aggravated battery in a public place and five years for aggravated battery causing great bodily harm. Those terms are to be served at the same time as the 18-year sentence, and by law Yeoman must serve at least half of the 18 years.