Driver Pleads Guilty in February Crash Involving Heroin

Last February Benjamin J. Black took some heroin and got behind the wheel. His SUV “plowed into the rear of a car on snow-packed Route 64 in western Kane County, killing an 11-year-old boy in the other vehicle, severely injuring a second person, and causing a chain-reaction crash,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times. In mid-November Black had his day in court, and plead guilty to two counts of aggressive DUI. One count is a Class 2 felony and the other is a Class 4 felony. Immediately following the crash, Black’s urine tested positive for heroin.

The crash occurred, according to the Sun-Times, at about 7:30 p.m. on a cold February night. The 11-year-old, Matthew Ranken, of Sycamore, was the backseat passenger in the car, piloted by Ranken’s 21-year-old brother, Nicholas Weber, who was also injured. “Black, who also was issued citations charging him with failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and operating an uninsured motor vehicle, remains in custody in the Kane County jail in lieu of $250,000 bail.” He faces three to 14 years in prison if convicted, and a fine of up to $25,000.

The case is a nasty reminder of the dangers of heroin, reminded Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon in a written statement, as reported by the Chicago Sun-Times. “Some might view a heroin habit as the self-destruction of the user. But this case is much more than that. This case is a gut-wrenching tragedy,” he writes.

Heroin use in the U.S. is on the rise. According to Bloomberg News, heroin use across the country has increased by 79 percent in the past five years alone. The Chicago area has seen the brunt of this increase, perhaps, due to “the marketing ingenuity of the Sinaloa cartel, the Mexican drug organization that has grabbed control of narcotics sales in the region,” reports Bloomberg News. Users are more likely to be young, white, and affluent than ever before. As of mid-November, there had been “43 fatal heroin overdoses so far this year in DuPage County, due west of Chicago and known for its comfortable neighborhoods, top-notch schools, and conservative politics,” according to Bloomberg News.

If you or someone you know has been killed or injured in an accident in which the driver who caused it tested positive for heroin, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact a personal injury attorney at the law offices of Martoccio & Martoccio today.

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