SUN TIMES MEDIA WIRE - A 25-year-old man has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for driving under the influence when he caused a 2016 crash that left a 9-year-old girl dead in west suburban Aurora.
Anthony S. Potochney pleaded guilty in October to three counts of aggravated DUI and one count of failure to stop after an accident involving personal injury or death, all felonies, according to the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Potochney was driving a 2003 Cadillac Deville on about 9:10 p.m. on Oct. 7, 2016, south on Broadway Avenue near Pierce Street in downtown Aurora hen the Deville drifted into the northbound lanes, prosecutors said.
The driver of a 2009 Toyota Sienna minivan in the northbound lanes tried to avoid the Cadillac by making a sharp turn to the left, but the Cadillac hit the minivan on its passenger side, the state’s attorney’s office said. The minivan then crashed into a building on the west side of Broadway.
A passenger in the minivan, 9-year-old Katie Jonak of Aurora, was taken to Mercy Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead at 9:44 p.m., Aurora police said at the time.
Two other children in the minivan, ages 10 and 12, were also taken to Mercy with a bruised lung and a broken bone, police said. Katie’s mother, who was driving the minivan, refused medical treatment. The mother and three children were on their way home from play rehearsal.
Potochney, of Aurora, ran away after the crash, but was taken into custody near the High Street Bridge that crosses the Burlington Northern railroad tracks, police said.
He showed signs of intoxication when he was arrested and was taken to Rush Copley Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries, police said. He was driving at least 75 mph in a 35 mph zone at the time of the crash. Potochney’s blood was drawn 4 1/2 hours later at the hospital, revealing a blood-alcohol concentration of .193, as well as some marijuana. He admitted to police that he had consumed 6 Coors Lights, 4 Captain Morgans and smoked marijuana the evening of the crash.
Potochney will serve the terms consecutively for 13 years. He receives credit for 539 days served in the Kane County jail.