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Man pleads guilty in 2011 Crete Township traffic deaths

Updated: June 24, 2014 8:12AM



A University Park man ended his trial this week by pleading guilty to felony charges in the March 2011 traffic deaths of two women in Crete Township.

Velar Mayfield, 26, pleaded to two counts of aggravated driving under the influence of marijuana and was sentenced Wednesday to 31/2 years in prison.

Mayfield’s attorney, Cosmo Tedone, said Mayfield faced anywhere from six to 28 years imprisonment if jurors had convicted him of the charges.

He said Mayfield must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence but would be given credit for the more than two years he was held at the Will County Jail while awaiting trial. Mayfield could be released on parole in about six months, Tedone said.

Mayfield admitted that he had used marijuana prior to losing control of the car he was driving and hitting a tree in the 300 block of Bemes Road. Killed were his girlfriend Cheyenne Cardosi, 21, of Cedar Lake, Indiana, and Sarah Shepard, 21, of Park Forest, who were passengers in the car and were not wearing seat belts, prosecutors said. They said Mayfield tested positive for marijuana at a hospital shortly after the crash.

Mayfield’s plea on Wednesday came on the third day of his trial in Will County Circuit Court. Tedone had argued that Mayfield was not impaired at the time of the crash and the car had hit an icy patch before going off the road.

State’s attorney’s office spokesman Charles Pelkie said Mayfield’s level of impairment and icy road conditions at the time could have become issues during the trial. He said prosecutors spoke with family members to make sure they were satisfied with the plea deal before it was presented to the judge.

“We made a determination that this was the appropriate disposition that holds him accountable and resolves the case,” Pelkie said.



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