Woman pleads guilty in fatal ATV crash
URBANA — A Philo woman who admitted she drove an all-terrain vehicle recklessly, causing the death of her cousin, faces up to five years in prison when she's sentenced in May.
Champaign County Judge Richard Klaus on Monday accepted Katheryn Daly's guilty plea to a single count of reckless homicide for causing the death of Annie Daly last Oct. 6.
However, rather than an agreed-upon sentence worked out by the state's attorney and Daly's attorney, Klaus will impose the sentence on May 16.
Defense attorney Mark Lipton asked the judge to reserve several hours for the hearing so he can call multiple witnesses to testify on behalf of Daly.
The veteran defense attorney said he plans to ask that his client, a single mother of one who is employed as a nurse at Carle, be sentenced to probation.
State's Attorney Julia Rietz said she would not object to a sentence of boot camp if the judge decides Daly should go to prison.
Daly, 24, pleaded guilty to the Class 3 felony, admitting that she reformed a reckless act likely to cause great bodily harm or death to another by driving a John Deere Gator after consuming alcohol.
Her cousin, Annie Daly, 19, also of Philo, died as a result of internal injuries she sustained in the accident, which happened near the families' homes south of Philo about 3 a.m. that day.
Laying out the facts for Klaus, Rietz said Katheryn Daly was driving the Gator and Annie Daly was the front seat passenger. There were three others in the back and none of the Gator riders was wearing a seat belt.
Rietz said the group had left a bonfire at a family birthday celebration about 3 a.m. headed for home. Katheryn Daly skidded on wet gravel as she turned from County Road 1700 E on to 600 N. The Gator tipped over and Annie Daly fell out. Katheryn Daly performed CPR on her, reviving her until she could be taken by ambulance to Carle. She died there almost four hours later.
Katheryn Daly admitted she had been drinking alcohol prior to the accident. Her blood alcohol level was 0.13 percent, more than the 0.08 percent required for an Illinois motorist to be presumed intoxicated.
In return for Daly's plea to the reckless homicide, Rietz agreed to dismiss two more serious counts of aggravated driving under the influence which would have carried a potential prison term of between three and 14 years. Probation is an option for both crimes. The prison range for reckless homicide is two to five years.
In a hearing 10 days earlier, Klaus rejected a negotiated plea agreement to a count of reckless homicide that called for Daly to serve a sentence of six months of electronic home detention and 30 months of probation.
Daly remains eligible for electronic home detention should the judge impose a jail sentence.