Rietz files to force trucker accused in I-74 window shatterings to give up rig

Rietz files to force trucker accused in I-74 window shatterings to give up rig

URBANA — Champaign County’s top prosecutor has taken steps to seize the semitrailer truck of a Wisconsin man accused of shattering windows of passing motorists while driving the rig on Interstate 74 through the C-U area.

On Friday, Judge John Kennedy found there was probable cause for the state to proceed with a civil-forfeiture proceeding against Kevin Lee Casey, 53, of Janesville, Wis., intended to relieve him of his semitrailer.

Casey was charged June 4 in a criminal case with two counts of aggravated battery and two counts of criminal damage to property accusing him of using a slingshot and ball bearings to shatter other motorists’ windows on I-74 in May. In one of the incidents on May 2, a 3-year-old boy was cut by flying glass.

Although Casey was charged in connection with three incidents, Illinois State Police reported about 45 between late March and June 1, when he was arrested.

The day after Casey was arraigned on the criminal charges, the state filed a petition asking the judge to decide if there is probable cause to find that the 2014 Freightliner Cascadia he owns was used in committing the crime and therefore subject to forfeiture.

State’s Attorney Julia Rietz said the law spells out specific offenses for which the state can seek civil forfeiture for vehicles. In this case, aggravated battery is the eligible offense.

Her office typically uses the forfeiture proceedings against drug dealers who sell from their cars.

Notice was sent to the parties with an interest in the truck: Casey; his company, Casey Express LLC, which has the same address as his home; and a finance company in Itasca, which financed the truck.

“The owner or other claimant has 28 days to file any defenses to the forfeiture proceeding,” Rietz said of the next step of the process. “In this situation, we are aware ... that the loan that’s outstanding on the truck is as much or more than the value of the vehicle. We are in discussions with the lienholder on how to resolve the issue.

“If there was value to the vehicle, the end resolution of the proceeding could be that it would be auctioned and the proceeds would go to the law-enforcement agency that seized the vehicle,” she said. “But given that in this situation, it appears that he owes more than it’s worth, most likely we’ll resolve this with some agreement with the lienholder.”

The end goal is to make sure Casey doesn’t get the semi back, Rietz said.

Casey continues to be held in the Champaign County Jail, unable to post 10 percent of his $2 million bond. He’s due back in court on the criminal charges Aug. 7.

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