Crime & Courts

Rockford man charged with DUI in girlfriend's death testifies at trial

Jose Loredo
Jose Loredo

A Rockford man wiped away tears Wednesday as he recalled the night prosecutors said he killed his 29-year-old fiancée in a drunken driving crash.

The evening of Feb. 24, 2018, was promising to be a fun night for 31-year-old Jose Loredo and his fiancée Ilian Sanchez. Loredo, of Rockford, made his first trip to Crystal Lake, where he and Sanchez tasted beers during a tour at Crystal Lake Brewing, the man testified. Afterward, the couple planned to attend a family member’s birthday party in Rockford, he said. While driving west on Kishwaukee Valley Road, however, Loredo said a pair of oncoming headlights appeared in his lane – one of the last images he remembers before coming to and flagging down a passing vehicle, he said.

“It was fast,” Loredo said through tears. “It was so fast.”

Loredo is charged in McHenry County court with aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol – an offense typically punishable by as many as 14 years in prison. His bench trial began Oct. 15 and has since taken place intermittently around witnesses’ and the parties’ schedules.

Loredo admitted during his testimony to drinking about 54 ounces of beer over the span of about 2 1/2 hours while at the brewery with his fiancée. While the McHenry County Coroner’s Office identified the woman as Ilian Gonzalez, court records and her obituary list her as Ilian Sanchez.

Despite the samples of beer he and Sanchez consumed during throughout the afternoon, Loredo didn’t feel drunk, he testified.

The six-pack of beer he purchased as he left the brewery was a gift for the birthday dinner he and Sanchez would soon head out to, Loredo told his attorney.

The couple never made it to the dinner.

While driving west on Kishwaukee Valley Road about 7:25 p.m. that day Loredo’s Hyundai Velostar went off the road at South McKinstry Road and struck a tree in unincorporated Seneca Township.

Sanchez died of blunt-force trauma to the head, according to the coroner’s office.

“I saw these two headlights coming at me,” Loredo said.

Loredo paused intermittently Wednesday as he testified about the plans he and Sanchez had for the future.

“We were talking about getting married,” he said. “We were talking about having a family.”

Although police collected blood and urine samples from Loredo at the hospital, responding officers didn’t perform any roadside sobriety tests after the crash. At least two officers previously testified that Loredo showed signs of being under the influence.

Loredo’s blood alcohol content registered at 0.104%, McHenry County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Alan Sabol said. The legal limit is 0.08%. However, registered nurse Bethany Pollnow, who works in the emergency room at Northwestern Medicine Huntley Hospital, testified last month that Loredo didn’t appear to be under the influence of alcohol the evening of the crash.

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