KANKAKEE — Kyuss Allison recalled the final moments leading up to a two-car crash that claimed the life of his younger brother Kameron on May 15, 2016.
Kyuss Allison was one of seven witnesses to testify Tuesday during the fatal DUI crash trial of Carmella S. Larson, of St. Anne.
Larson is accused of causing the death of 15-year-old Kameron Allison and seriously injuring his then 16-year-old brother, Kyuss, in a crash on Illinois Route 17 at North 19000W Road. The brothers were students at Herscher High School.
The 36-year-old Larson is charged with six counts of aggravated DUI.
The trial continues today and is expected to conclude by Friday. Judge Ronald J. Gerts is presiding.
Kyuss Allison testified they were driving to Reddick, where they lived with their mother, Trina Wesemann, after spending the weekend with their father, Jacob Allison, in Bourbonnais.
Heading westbound on Illinois Route 17 at about 9:40 p.m., Kyuss Allison said he noticed a vehicle’s headlights traveling southbound on 19000 Road as they approached the T intersection.
“I said. ‘Kam, that car’s going kind of fast,’” Kyuss Allison said when questioned by Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jim Rowe. “I sped up to get through the intersection, and that’s all I can remember.”
During cross examination from public defender Emile Capriotti, Kyuss Allison said he was driving 60 to 65 mph prior to seeing the other car. Kyuss Allison said he sped up to 70 to 75 hoping to make it through the intersection safely.
“At that point, I realized (the other car) was not going to stop. I don’t remember anything after,” Kyuss Allison said.
The posted speed limit on Route 17 is 55 mph.
Larson’s car slammed into the passenger side where Kameron Allison was sitting. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Kyuss Allison, Larson and her passenger, Nathan Lockhart, were transported to Riverside Medical Center. Kyuss Allison was transferred to Christ Advocate Hospital for treatment. Investigators said Lockhart and Larson suffered nonlife-threatening injuries.
The couple was driving home to St. Anne after visiting friends in East Brooklyn, which is located in Grundy County.
Lockhart testified the couple spent four to five hours at The Office Bar and Grill, where Larson tended bar on Saturdays. He testified he had at least four Bloody Mary’s while there. He said he could not recall if Larson was drinking. He said he talked to a guy about motorcycles the entire time and paid for his own drinks.
They then left to visit Larson’s friends in East Brooklyn. They all went to Reco’s Tap and Grill twice for drinks over the course of three hours. He again didn’t recall Larson drinking at the house or the bar.
During questioning from Capriotti, Lockhart said he was drinking more than Larson, and he didn’t remember leaving East Brooklyn.
Rowe followed that by asking Lockhart again if Larson was drinking.
“You said you drank more than her,” Rowe said.
“Yes,” Lockhart said.
Bartenders who served the couple at each bar said they served alcohol drinks to Larson.
Roger Ribbke, the Reddick Fire Chief at the time of the crash, testified when he took Larson out of the car, she thanked him. He said he detected a strong odor of alcohol on her breath.
When questioned by Capriotti about what he smelled, Ribbke said he smelled alcohol on her breath but “I am not a police officer.”
Illinois State Police Sgt. Ryan Wilson said when he interviewed Larson at the hospital, her speech was low in a mumbled tone, she had glassy eyes and the odor of alcohol on her breath.
“She said yes she had been drinking beer,” Wilson said.
Capriotti brought up in his opening statement that the stop sign was missing from 19000 Road the night of the accident.
When he asked Ribbke and Sgt. Ryan Wilson of the Illinois State Police about the fact, they both said they learned it was missing later.
Prosecutor Val Gunderson asked Wilson what rules of the road say pertaining to T intersections. Wilson said a driver must yield to cross traffic before proceeding through the intersection with no traffic control signs or signals.
Wilson and Ribbke both testified that there was a stop ahead information sign posted on 19000 further back from the intersection.