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Charges filed in crash that killed Sycamore boy, 11

BenjamJ. Black / phofrom Kane County State's Attorney's office

Benjamin J. Black / photo from Kane County State's Attorney's office

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Updated: June 9, 2013 6:26AM

ST. CHARLES — Two months after a fatal crash in western Kane County claimed the life of an 11-year-old Sycamore boy, prosecutors have charged one driver with aggravated driving under the influence.

Benjamin Black, 28, also of Sycamore, faces three counts of aggravated DUI, and single counts of driving without insurance and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident in connection with the Feb. 27 crash on Route 64 near Peplow Road in Virgil Township. Prosecutors allege that Black had heroin in his system at the time, based on results of a urine sample taken immediately after the crash.

Black made a brief court appearance Tuesday, and a judge set his bail at $250,000. He is to return to court May 9.

Authorities previously said Black was driving west on Route 64 in a 1999 Ford Expedition when he collided with one of three vehicles stopped on the snowy road because of an unrelated traffic accident farther west. Black’s Expedition struck a Chevy Cavalier carrying three people, including 11-year-old Matthew Ranken in the back seat. Ranken was later pronounced dead, while the two other occupants were treated for injuries that were not life-threatening. The Expedition’s collision with the Cavalier started a chain-reaction that involved two other vehicles, authorities said.

Black is currently out on bond in DeKalb County, where Sycamore is located, on felony theft charges. He was scheduled to appear in court there on Tuesday for a status hearing.

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