http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=404803Does getting behind the wheel of a souped-up car indicate its driver may be reckless?
That's a question a McHenry County judge or jury eventually may have to answer as prosecutors seek approval for an auto expert to check whether a vehicle involved in a fatal crash earlier this year had received aftermarket upgrades.
The car in question is a 2001 Pontiac Trans Am crashed the night of April 10 in Crystal Lake by Kyle J. Sievert, killing passenger Vanessa M. Tobey, 24, of Schaumburg.
Sievert, 24, of the 400 block of Happfield Drive in Arlington Heights, faces charges of reckless homicide and aggravated reckless driving as a result.
According to court documents, a Crystal Lake police officer believes modifications had been made to the vehicle before the crash. Now prosecutors are asking for court permission to have an automotive technology instructor from McHenry County College examine the car to possibly confirm those findings.
"(The examination) would assist the trier of fact in determining the ultimate question of the defendant's guilt or innocence, specifically as to whether the defendant's conduct was willful or wanton," Assistant McHenry County State's Attorney Ryan Blackney said in a court filing.
Sievert attorney Mark Gummerson said he would oppose the examination, but added that even if it were allowed, the findings should be immaterial.
"The question becomes that (if he did modify the car), does that make it reckless?" Gummerson said. "There was nothing illegal on the car. We don't believe it's relevant to the charge."
Authorities say Sievert was squealing his car's tires, revving its engine and accelerating rapidly when he lost control turning from Waterford Cut onto Huntley Road and collided with an SUV. Tobey was pronounced dead a short time later while two other passengers were injured, police said.
Sievert, who is free on $7,500 bond, is scheduled to return to court Sept. 29 for a hearing on the prosecution request.