Kendall County prosecutors will be allowed to view the eye care records of an Aurora man who they say was driving without corrective lenses when he struck and killed an Oswego High School softball coach with his vehicle in June.
Judge Robert Pilmer ruled Monday morning that the records are relevant to the case, and ruled against the defense’s objection to subpoenaing them.
Prosecutors allege Nehemiah Williams, 38, of the 100 block of Gregory Street, Aurora, was driving on Plainfield Road near Plainsman Court in Oswego Township on June 24 when he struck Amanda Stanton, 26, of Lockport, who had been walking along the side of the road.
Stanton was the head softball coach at OHS and was a math intervention specialist at Jefferson Junior High School in Naperville.
Police say that Williams wasn’t wearing corrective lenses at the time of the accident, which goes against a restriction on his license. He was charged with failing to report an accident that resulted in personal injury or death, reckless homicide and driving with a suspended license, all felonies.
“Obviously the extent of his ability to see, or his inability to see, is going to be very relevant to the charges of reckless homicide in this particular case,” said First Assistant State’s Attorney Mark Shlifka. “The progression of the defendant’s ability to see is something we’re entitled to look at.”
Dawn Projansky, Williams' defense attorney, argued that there is no case law that says a violation of a restriction on one’s driver’s license is ground for reckless homicide. She said that the act could possibly be considered negligent, but that without “reckless and wanton” actions being taken, a reckless homicide charge is inappropriate.
However, Shlifka disagreed.
“The restriction isn’t the basis for the recklessness,” Shlifka said. “It’s the level of his vision and impairment which we are trying to find out.”
Projansky also went on to say that nowhere in the state’s discovery is America’s Best Glasses and Contacts in Aurora mentioned as a health care provider of Williams. Instead, a Lens Crafters was cited as his provider.
“There’s no evidence that Williams ever went (to America’s Best),” Projansky said. She said releasing the records would violate her defendant’s privacy.
According to Shlifka, the Kendall County Sheriff’s Department relayed the fact that Williams' eye care provider was America’s Best.
Judge Pilmer ruled that the records could be sought, but that they must be pertain to the five years leading up to the accident.
“We don’t know the full extent of his level of impairment unless we see those records,” Shlifka said.