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10-year sentence for Indiana trucker for crash that killed 5

A 53-year-old Indiana truck driver has been handed a 10-year prison term for 2014 crash in Will County (IL) that killed five people.

Francisco Espinal-Quiroz pleaded guilty in November to five counts of reckless homicide and falsifying entries in his logbook that tracks how many hours he was behind the wheel.

Quiroz was driving on Interstate 55 near Channahon when his vehicle slammed into vehicles stopped at a construction zone. The crash killed three people, including an 11-year old girl, in one vehicle and two other people in other vehicles.

Espinal-Quiroz is also blind in his right eye but had a waiver to drive a truck through the state of Indiana.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Essex clerk arrested for stealing taxpayer money

The Office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced the arrest of Essex Township Clerk Traci Freytag, charging her with stealing $94,000 from taxpayers.

The 50-year-old Freytag is accused of using $94,000 of taxpayer money for personal use, including two trips to Florida.

Freytag faces up to 15 years in prison, if convicted. She’s charged with felony counts of theft of government property, fraud, and 2-counts of official misconduct.
Freytag was arrested in South Carolina and will be brought back to Kankakee.

Prosecutors claim Freytag stole the money between November 2014 and May of 2016, depositing township checks into her personal account.

"Stealing taxpayer money to use for personal enjoyment is a brazen form of public corruption," Madigan said. "I appreciate the Office of the Inspector General of the FDIC helping us bring this defendant to justice, as well as the Kankakee County Sheriff's Office and the Aiken, South Carolina Police Department for their assistance."

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Homicide: Inquest ruling for cause of death in Buckley fight

A Ford County Coroner’s inquest (Wednesday) revealed how a suburban-Chicago man died Christmas night following a fight outside a bar in Buckley.

The death of 25-year-old Daniel Connolly is ruled a homicide.

The Lyons (IL) man died at Gibson Area Hospital in Gibson City following a scuffle outside the Dutchmaster Bar.

The inquest ruling states Connolly died of asphyxiation.
Testimony from investigators revealed Connolly was held down by two people.

The police report says Connolly and several others were involved. Connolly and his two brothers were at the bar that night.

Two Buckley firefighters testified they saw Connolly on the ground. And he was being held down by two other men. There were at least three other victims. One was hit in the head with a hammer.

Investigators have the names of the men accused of holding Connolly down.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Gibson City house fire kills pets

A rural Gibson City house fire (Wednesday) killed two dogs and two cats. No humans were injured in the fire two-miles south of town on Route 47.

Firefighters were called a little after 5 pm by the owner. Smoke was found coming from the 2-storey farmhouse. Fire officials reported smoke damage throughout the house.
Damage was pegged at $35,000. The cause was likely electrical.

The Sangamon Valley and Elliott fire departments provided mutual aid.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Revolving Loan Fund stirs more talk in Iroquois County

The re-start-up of Iroquois County’s revolving loan program again generated discussion by the Iroquois County Board Tuesday.

The county’s Economic Development Association is pushing for support to keep start-up monies available for businesses showing interest in Iroquois County. But the revolving loan has also resulted in those who benefit not following thru with pay-back responsibilities. That -- finds some board members questioning whether the local government should be in the banking business ?

The Executive Director of IDA, Ken Barragree, points out, the county would control the fund, as it always has in the past. He also said any money in the fund is transferable, should the county find need.

A committee of county board members and professionals in the community would review applications before such loans would be approved.

County Board Chairman John Shure said more work needs to be done before the matter comes back to the finance committee.

94.1 WGFA