Two reckless homicide cases to be tried in July

Cathy Decker/Staff reporter
Joseph D. Miller

Joseph Miller

On Feb. 15, 2011 in a two-vehicle accident two miles east of Viola, Garrett Mooberry from East Peoria, 23, was pronounced dead at the scene. A Springfield man, Joseph Miller, 48, was air lifted to Trinity West, Rock Island. He was later ticketed for two counts of aggravated DUI (Class 2 felonies) and one count of reckless homicide with a motor vehicle (Class 3 felony).

At the preliminary hearing Tuesday, Mercer County Sheriff Deputy David Staley testified he was on duty that day and was called to the scene at around noon. He observed two vehicles that were "extremely heavily damaged." One vehicle was in the middle of the roadway and another in the ditch. He said the vehicle in the center of the road, driven by Miller, appeared to have crossed the center line at the time of the accident.

He said the sheriff's department subpoenaed Miller's medical records and found that several drugs in his system were identified including Methadone, Cannabis and Benzodiazepine.

Staley said two witnesses were found that noticed the erratic driving of the Miller vehicle, one of whom was nearly run off the road.

Judge Chickris noted there were reasonable grounds to hold Miller to answer to the charges and set a July 11, 10 a.m. Pretrial conference date and a jury trial for 9 a.m. on July 25. Miller waived his rights to a formal arraignment and pled not guilty to the charges.

Sheriff's deputies were assisted by the Illinois State Police in the investigation. Also responding to the scene were the Viola and New Windsor fire departments, Viola and New Windsor police departments, AMT and Tri-County ambulances and a Med Force helicopter.

Roger Reed

Amended charges were filed against Roger K. Reed, 24, of Aledo Thursday, May 12, 2011. Reed was involved in a one-vehicle accident on Ill. Rte. 17 on or about April 28, 2011 approximately one-quarter mile east of 151st St., between Aledo and Joy.  

Amended charges included reckless homicide, a special class 3 felony, two counts of aggravated driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, one charge a class 2 felony and the other a class four felony.

Mercer County Assistant State's Attorney Meeghan Lee called forward James D. Unsworth to testify for the state. Unsworth said when he arrived at the scene Aledo Police Officer Nick Seefeld was there and the driver of the vehicle was not present.

There were three male subjects in the car, according to Seefeld, with Reed in the front seat and driving. Jeffrey K. Rickords was in the back seat and was thrown out of the vehicle. "It appeared he had been ejected out the rear window," said Unsworth.

The officer noticed a Keystone Light (Beer) foaming on the ground. He said the interior of the car smelled like alcohol. He said there were two witnesses who noticed the Reed car crossing the center line, where it skidded and started to roll (near Longley hills).

Rickords was taken to Mercer County Hospital from the accident scene. Reed also went to the hospital to be with his friend.

Unsworth transported Reed to the Mercer County Sheriff's Office to interview him. He was not under arrest at that time. Reed told the officer he had been playing video games and drank some beers with friends in Aledo and was heading to Joy when the rollover occurred. He mentioned seeing an eastbound semi before he lost control of the vehicle and also that he had a low tire.

Unsworth said the two witnesses did not see a semi.

Reed had a breathalyzer test done and he blew a .134, over the legal limit of .08.

On May 12, Rickords succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead by a Peoria County coroner.

Judge Chickris found probable cause to hold Reed to answer to the charges and set a pre-trial conference date of July 11 at 10:40 a.m.

Public Defender Dan Dalton told the court the defendant waived his rights to a formal arraignment and pled not guilty. Dalton also asked the court to lower his client's bond from $250,000, 10 percent.

After hearing testimony as to why Reed is not a flight risk, Judge Chickris agreed to lower the bond to $100,000, 10 percent.

Roger Reed