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Elgin woman gets prison time for leaving scene of fatal crash

Michelle E. Higareda

Michelle E. Higareda

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Updated: January 9, 2014 6:41AM

An Elgin woman with a long history of unlicensed driving has been sent to prison for failing to stop after the car she was driving struck and killed a motorcycle driver, the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office said.

Michelle E. Higareda, 51, of the 500 block of McClure Avenue, was sentenced recently by Circuit Judge Susan Clancy Boles to five years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

On June 1, 2013, Higareda pleaded guilty to one count of failure to report an accident involving death, a Class 1 felony, and one count of aggravated DUI, a Class 4 felony.

According to police reports, at about 7 p.m. Aug. 17, 2011, Higareda was driving her late model GMC Suburban south on Moseley Street in Elgin when she attempted to make a left turn onto Walnut Avenue. As she turned, she struck a motorcycle driven by 25-year-old Francisco Acevedo of Elgin.

Acevedo was not required to stop at the intersection. Acevedo struck the hood of the suburban and fell to the ground. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Witnesses said that after striking Acevedo, Higareda briefly hesitated at the intersection and then drove away. Higareda was found by police about an hour later at her boyfriend’s home.

At Wednesday’s sentencing hearing, prosecutors noted that Higareda has been cited nine times since 1994 for driving with a suspended license. In addition, Secretary of State’s records in evidence disclose 15 citations for failure to pay, as well as actions to suspend her driver’s license for insurance violations, a release from the state’s attorney’s office said.

According to Illinois law, Higareda is eligible for day-for-day sentencing. She was given credit for time served in the Kane County jail. She had been free on $2,500 bond.

“I hope this sentence provides a sense of peace and justice for Francisco’s family as they continue to mourn his death,” Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said in the release. “And I hope Ms. Higareda understands that her conduct has shown gross disregard for the rule of law, court orders, and the people of the state of Illinois.”

The case was prosecuted by Kane County Assistant State’s Attorneys Bill Engerman and Kelly M. Orland.

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