Teen driver sentenced in fatal crash
By Janet Lundquist firstname.lastname@example.org November 17, 2013 8:54PM
Ribbons are seen in the neighborhood where Jay Vana lived off Conlee Drive Friday, Sept. 28, 2012, in Homer Glen. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 19, 2013 6:20AM
A teenager who was behind the wheel of a pickup truck that crashed, killing a 16-year-old passenger, in Homer Glen last fall has been sentenced to two months in juvenile prison.
Will County Circuit Court Judge Paula Gomora on Friday sentenced the Lockport boy to 60 days in the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice and ordered a psychological evaluation.
“(The victim’s family) has paid the ultimate consequence. And you have too, you lost a friend,” Gomora told the teen during the sentencing hearing. “Hopefully, the term in the Department of Juvenile Justice is the first step in helping you move on with your life.”
The boy will return to Gomora’s courtroom in January, when the judge said she will decide whether to vacate the prison term and impose a sentence of probation.
The teen was 16 at the time of the Sept. 25, 2012 crash that killed Lockport East High School student Jay Vana. He was charged with reckless homicide, aggravated reckless driving and reckless driving.
“I know that things will never be the same for me and that things will never be the same for the Vana family,” the boy told Gamora. “I’m sorry for the mess I’ve made. I want them to know that I’m deeply sorry for all the pain that I’ve caused them.”
He was charged as a juvenile with six counts of reckless homicide, aggravated reckless driving and reckless driving and was found guilty of all counts in a bench trial, according to prosecutors.
“His actions cost the life of a young boy. That is as serious as it gets,” Assistant State’s Attorney Tina Flipiak told the judge. “Any sentence that doesn’t include confinement seriously deprecates the seriousness of what happened. He killed Jay Vana.”
Vana, of Homer Glen, had gone to McDonald’s with his friend that night and was riding home when the accident happened less than a mile from his home.
Will County sheriff’s police were called at 8:38 p.m. to Lauffer and Haas roads, where Vana was found partially underneath the pickup truck, which left the road, hit a tree and rolled over, police said.
Vana was thrown from the vehicle and was taken to Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox, where he was pronounced dead.