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Crime & Courts

Driver in fatal crash near Hebron found fit for trial

WOODSTOCK – In lieu of a hearing Wednesday, attorneys agreed that a Round Lake Beach man charged with murder in connection with an August 2011 fatal car crash is mentally fit to stand trial.

Police said that Luis E. Ramirez-Arguelles, 23, rammed his SUV head-on into a vehicle driven by 38-year-old Sonia Hume, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Ramirez-Arguelles was taken to Centegra Hospital – McHenry with a leg injury.

In September, he was found unfit to stand trial after his attorneys raised doubts about his mental ability to aid in his own defense.

“At that point, [he was] having difficulty working with us,” defense attorney Michael Melius said. “We had a bona fide doubt as to his fitness.”

Ramirez-Arguelles then was treated at the Elgin Mental Health Center for several weeks before returning to the McHenry County Jail in December.

Wednesday, Melius and prosecutors stipulated that if medical experts were called to testify, they would say  Ramirez-Arguelles can stand trial.

Mental competency, or fitness, pertains to a defendant’s current mental status and ability to assist in the defense. Insanity deals with whether a person was legally able to tell the difference between right and wrong while committing a crime.

According to police, the crash occurred about 7 a.m. Aug. 5, 2011, when Ramirez-Arguelles was driving west on Tryon Grove Road just east of Barnard Mill Road near Hebron.

Police said he was in the eastbound lane trying to pass two other vehicles when he collided with Hume’s 2003 Mitsubishi Outlander.

Police said the crash was an intentional act, not an accident. Ramirez-Arguelles initially was charged with reckless homicide, which later was upgraded to first-degree murder.

Ramirez-Arguelles’ next court date is set for April 11.

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