Weather Updates

Attorney seeks plea deal for client in street-racing death

Jeremy Betancourt

Jeremy Betancourt

storyidforme: 59566950
tmspicid: 19063050
fileheaderid: 8622560

Updated: January 22, 2014 6:08AM

An attorney for Jeremy Betancourt, charged with aggravated street racing, aggravated DUI and reckless homicide in the death of an Antioch High School student, said he is actively pursuing a plea deal for his client.

“The state and I are diligently working toward resolving this case,” defense attorney Jed Stone said Friday. “In the meantime, Jeremy is in school, receiving outpatient treatment and he is doing everything I want him to do and doing it well.”

A trial date for Betancourt has been rescheduled from Jan. 6 to March 31, but even prior to that change, Stone had said he may plead guilty instead of going to trial.

The 17-year-old Antioch teen, who potentially faces up to 14 years in prison on the most serious charges against him related to the death of 16-year-old Cynthia Perez, has completed inpatient drug and alcohol treatment at the Gateway Foundation drug and alcohol abuse program for adolescents in Lake Villa.

In November, Lake County Judge Victoria Rosetti ruled that Betancourt will be allowed to stay with his mother in Antioch on a bond with stringent conditions as he awaits trial on charges related to the street racing death of a 16-year-old Antioch High School student.

With the conditional approval of prosecutors, Rossetti ruled Nov. 7 that Betancourt may go home on his current bond of $100,000, provided that he remains on a 24-hour curfew, is tested randomly for drugs and alcohol, that he has no contact with the victim’s family and that he does not use any forms of social media.

“If there is one, one, misstep, you will be back in custody,” Rossetti told the teen.

Assistant State’s Attorney Jason Grindel said the state would not object to the bond with the stipulations Rossetti set.

The charges against Betancourt stem from a June 24 crash on Route 120, just east of Hunt Club Road, that occurred while he was allegedly street racing with another car. Perez was a passenger in his car and was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene.

Another defendant in the case, Michael R. Dawson, 19, also of Antioch, pleaded guilty to aggravated street racing in a negotiated plea agreement.

Dawson, the driver of the other car involved in the race, could have faced a sentencing range of one to 12 years in prison if convicted at trial. As part of the negotiation, the State’s Attorney’s Office and Dawson’s defense agreed to cap any possible prison sentence at eight years.

Dawson was sentenced Nov. 20 to 30 months of intensive probation, including 18 months of periodic imprisonment in Lake County Jail, with a host of stringent conditions including drug and alcohol treatment and testing, 200 hours of public service and mental health evaluation and treatment.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.