Sheriff says fatal crash no accident

WOODSTOCK – A head-on collision that killed a Woodstock mother of four recently near Hebron was no accident, authorities said Monday.

As a result, charges against a Round Lake Beach man who police said caused the fatal crash were upgraded to include first-degree murder.

Bond for Luis E. Ramirez-Arguelles, 22, of 1512 Hickory St., was set at $1 million, but he has an immigration hold as well. He also is charged with reckless homicide.

“During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the crash was not an accident,” the McHenry County Sheriff's Department said in a news release. “It was an intentional act committed by Luis E. Ramirez.”

About 7 a.m. Aug. 5, Ramirez-Arguelles was driving a 1997 Ford Expedition west on Tryon Grove Road just east of Barnard Mill Road near Hebron, police said.

Ramirez-Arguelles was in the eastbound lane trying to pass two other vehicles, police said, when he collided head-on with a 2003 Mitsubishi Outlander driven by 38-year-old Sonia Hume of Woodstock.

Hume was pronounced dead on the scene, while Ramirez-Arguelles was taken to Centegra Hospital – McHenry with a leg injury. Both were wearing seat belts, and airbags deployed.

Phil Hiscock, chief of the McHenry County State's Attorney's Office criminal division, said Ramirez-Arguelles was transferred from the hospital to the jail, where he remains.

"Driving in the matter that he did created a strong probability of death or great bodily harm," which led to the murder charge, Hiscock said.

In contrast, the reckless homicide charge is about recklessness or gross negligence, Hiscock said.

"The difference is intent," he said, but declined to comment further.

If convicted, Ramirez-Arguelles could face between 20 and 60 years in prison on the murder charge and between two and five years in prison on the reckless homicide charge.

An immigration hold generally indicates that the defendant could be in the country illegally or that the criminal case could affect the defendant’s immigration status.

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