CAMBRIDGE, Ill. — More than four years after a fatal vehicle crash, a Kewanee man was sentenced Wednesday in Henry County Circuit Court to 10 years in prison for aggravated driving under the influence.
Lorenzo S. Quintero, 50, will also have one year mandatory supervised release, a $500 fine and costs. He will have to serve 85% of the prison sentence.
Quintero failed to -appear in court for his sentencing hearing, which was continued from June 16 to ensure he received notice.
The April 9, 2017, car crash killed Gabina Garcia, 27, of Kewanee, Quintero's sister-in-law. She left a 5-year-old son.
The crash happened at about 3:15 a.m. on Route 78 north of Kewanee when Quintero was driving his wife and Garcia home from a Davenport dance club. According to the accident reconstructionist, Quintero's vehicle drifted out of its lane through the oncoming lane and into the east-side ditch where it vaulted over a driveway, went airborne, landed and rolled. Garcia was not using a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle through the sun roof. There was no evidence of evasive maneuvering.
Quintero was found to have had a blood alcohol content of .188, or over twice the legal limit, in his system as well as a whole blood test result of .205. He also tested positive for cocaine.
In December of 2019, Quintero was scheduled to plead guilty to the charge but changed his mind during the plea hearing. A stipulated bench trial was held Jan. 24, 2020, in which Judge Jeffrey O'Connor, now retired, found him guilty.
In sentencing Quintero, Judge James Cosby said he believed driving under the influence was one of the most deterrable offenses because, drink by drink, people become intoxicated and make the decision to drive drunk and perhaps kill somebody.
He said in this case, Quintero had intended to drive over an hour from Davenport to Kewanee to get home.
The judge noted he'd received 21 letters of support for Quintero, including from relatives and co-workers. He said probation was possible for this offense, but he would have to find “extraordinary circumstances” in order to justify a sentence of probation.
“He led a life that's expected of people,” Cosby said. “Extraordinary circumstances do not exist.”
At the close of the hearing, the judge recalled the $250,000 warrant he had issued last month and issued a no-bond warrant for Quintero's arrest.