Reconviction Continued in Fatal Drunk Driving Crash | Crime, police and courts
KANKAKEE – The reconviction hearing of a Kankakee woman in a fatal impaired accident continued until June to give her public defender time to prepare part of her defense.
Carmella S. Larson, 39, of Sainte-Anne, is being reconvicted for a 2019 conviction of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol, resulting in the May 2016 death of Kameron Allison, 15, of Reddick. She was originally sentenced to six years.
Kameron was a passenger in a vehicle driven by his brother, Kyuss, when they were struck on the passenger side by Larson’s vehicle.
Larson appealed his conviction, not the conviction. She argued that now-retired Kankakee County Associate Judge Ronald J. Gerts erred during his sentencing hearing.
In January, the Illinois Third District Court of Appeals agreed and ruled that Larson should be re-sentenced.
Back in court Wednesday in Kankakee County for a re-sentencing, Circuit Judge Michael Sabol asked Deputy Public Defender Emile Capriotti if he had any other evidence he wanted to present.
The question came more than two hours into the hearing and after prosecutors presented their case, which included impact statements from Kameron’s mother, father and sister. Larson testified and then read a statement.
Capriotti said statements made on Larson’s behalf by the family during the original conviction should be entered into evidence, to which Sabol responded by saying it was a new conviction.
“I assumed that the other evidence and statements from the trial would be allowed,” Capriotti said.
“What would make you think that?” We start over for the trouble,” Sabol replied.
Before granting Capriotti’s motion to proceed, Sabol asked Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jim Rowe for his opinion.
“We want closure, your honor. But at the same time, I don’t want it to come back to the appeals court and end up having to do it again,” Rowe said.
“I have the same concern,” Sabol said. “I am okay.”
The hearing continued until June 13. Sentencing options range from probation to 14 years.
Larson raised three arguments in his appeal seeking the re-sentencing.
First, the trial court erred in treating Kameron’s death as an addition to the aggravated DUI charge. As this charge applies when a person is injured and/or killed, the appeals court ruled that the judge erred in taking his death into consideration when sentencing.
The court said in its ruling that the judge’s additional consideration of death led to a heavier sentence.
Second, the appeal decision further declared that 11 of the 16 victim impact statements submitted were not valid because they were not from immediate family members of the deceased.
Finally, the decision indicates that the court imposed a period of parole greater than that authorized. Larson was sentenced to three years of parole although the maximum allowed was two years.
Investigators say Larson and her then-boyfriend Nathan Lockhart had been drinking all day on May 15, 2016, and returned to St. Anne after visiting friends in East Brooklyn, located in Grundy County. .
Larson was southbound on 19000West Road, and Kyuss and Kameron were westbound on Illinois Route 17. Kyuss had the right of way.
It was discovered after the accident that the stop sign on 19000W Road had already been knocked down. He was found by investigators in a nearby ditch. According to state traffic rules, even if there is no stop sign at a T-junction, the driver on the road ending at the intersection must stop. In this case, it was Larson.