A 47-year-old Zion woman was sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison for fatally striking a bicyclist with her SUV in Waukegan and fleeing the scene.
Linda J. Ray, 47, of Zion, was charged in July 2020 with leaving the scene of an accident causing death and failure to report an accident involving death.
The Waukegan Police Department said that Chad Aiello, 37, of Kenosha, Wisconsin, was riding his bicycle around 11:30 p.m. on June 4, 2020.
Officers found Aiello, a father of one, badly injured in the 3600 block of North Lewis Avenue.
Police said that an ambulance transported Aiello to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville where he was later pronounced dead.
The Waukegan Police Department’s Major Crash Unit (MCU) was called to investigate.
Investigators learned Aiello was riding a bicycle southbound on Lewis Avenue in the northbound lanes.
A black 2015 Cadillac SUV, driven by Ray, was traveling northbound on Lewis Avenue when it struck the bicyclist and fled the scene, police said.
A jury found Ray guilty of aggravated leaving the scene of an accident involving death in March.
Aiello’s friends and family filled the courtroom at a sentencing hearing Wednesday.
Give victim impact statements were written by Aiello’s parents, daughter, sister and girlfriend.
Lake County Assistant State’s Attorneys Lauren Kalcheim Rothenberg and Scott Hoffert read three of the statements.
The other two were read by the family members themselves.
All the statements expressed the pain Aiello’s friends and family felt since he died, describing the feeling of not having him around as a “hole” left in their hearts.
Lake County Judge Charles Smith sentenced Ray to five years in prison, saying that people fleeing scenes after tragic accidents cannot be tolerated.
Even though the sentence cannot bring Aiello back, Smith hopes the family can get closure.
Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart praised prosecutors and said his office will continue to fight for victims by bringing offenders to justice.