$750K bond for driver in fatal ‘road rage’ incident - FOX 32 News Chicago

$750K bond for driver in fatal ‘road rage’ incident

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

Authorities said a Plainfield driver with a history of traffic violations was in the throes of road rage, and under the influence of drugs, when he caused a collision in Naperville late Wednesday afternoon that killed a 63-year-old Lombard motorcyclist.

Michael J. Moreno faces three felony charges for his alleged role in the fatality.

Naperville police Sgt. Lee Martin said in a release that Moreno, 31, turned south onto River Road from westbound Ogden Avenue in Naperville just after 5 p.m., putting his 2006 Infinity M45 directly in the path of Gerald W. Puglise's 2005 Triumph Rocket III. Puglise died at the scene.

"At the time of the crash, Moreno was involved in a ‘road rage' incident with a 2006 grey Honda driven by a 16-year-old female from Naperville," Martin said in a statement issued Thursday morning.

The young woman was not involved in the crash and was not charged, Martin said.

A statement from DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin's office said Moreno was allegedly chasing the Honda when the collision took place. He fled after the crash but was caught a short time later. Moreno was slightly injured in the impact and was taken for treatment to Edward Hospital in Naperville, where he tested positive for marijuana, authorities said.

Berlin, who commended Naperville police for their prompt arrest of Moreno, said thousands of people are killed every year by impaired drivers.

"The motoring public has to learn that if you have been drinking or have any amount of illegal drugs in your system you should not get behind the wheel of your car," Berlin said in the release.

Moreno's charges include driving under the influence of drugs causing the death of another, a Class 2 felony; aggravated reckless driving, a Class 4 felony; and leaving the scene of an accident involving death, a Class 4 felony. Circuit Court Judge Elizabeth Sexton set Moreno's bond at $750,000 Thursday morning. He remained in DuPage County Jail in Wheaton early Thursday afternoon and is set to appear June 25 before Judge George Bakalis.

This week's arrest was not Moreno's first encounter with law enforcement. Naperville police said they caught him going more than 20 mph over the speed limit in December 2006, and Plainfield said they caught him speeding by at least 15 mph in August 2010. The Naperville ticket was dismissed, but he pleaded guilty to the Plainfield ticket. A judge gave him three months of supervision in that case.

He also pleaded guilty to driving with a revoked license April 29, 2007, in Naperville, landing one year of supervision. In October 2010, Plainfield police said they caught him driving an uninsured motor vehicle on a suspended license. He pleaded guilty to driving on a suspended license and a judge gave him another year of supervision.

He got the same punishment in January 2011, when a judge found him guilty of two counts of disorderly conduct. He faced another misdemeanor criminal damage to property charge in April 2010, but prosecutors dismissed the case on the day of trial. They also dismissed a battery charge filed by Naperville in October 2009.

Moreno has received several traffic tickets in Will County as well, including one for going more than 40 mph over the speed limit in December 2003, records show. Illinois State Police gave him that ticket, and another the same day for not wearing his seat belt. He pleaded guilty to both charges in February 2004, received 30 days of court supervision and paid $260 in fines.

Wednesday's accident remains under investigation.

Anyone with information about the collision is asked to call the Police Department's Traffic Unit at (630) 305-5285.

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