A rural Beardstown man was sentenced last week in a 3 year old fatal crash case. 30 year old Christopher W. Stoneking was sentenced to 5 years in the Illinois Department of Correction on January 27th after he plead guilty to reckless homicide before Cass County Judge Michael L. Atteberry. In exchange for his plea, the state dismissed charges of aggravated DUI resulting in accidental death, aggravated DUI resulting in great bodily harm, aggravated reckless driving, driving under the influence, and involuntary manslaughter of a family member.
According to a Cass County Star-Gazette report, Stoneking was the driver of a Dodge Caravan traveling northbound on Arenzville Road on February 17th, 2017, when it collided with the rear of a semi truck that had slowed down before turning into the JBS parking lot, south of Illinois Route 125 near Beardstown. Stoneking’s passenger, 22 year old Brittni Allen of Beardstown died at the scene while two minor children were injured and airlifted to a Springfield hospital. Former Cass County State’s Attorney John Alvarez filed the six count complaint against Stoneking on August 7th, 2017.
The case went through several delays in Cass County Court due to continuances and multiple changes in defense counsel. There were also multiple changes at the Cass County Courthouse that had to be accomodated. Original judge Bobby G. Hardwick retired in December 2018, which resulted in former public defender T.J. Wessel as his successor, and then resulted in reassignment of Atteberry to the case. Finally, the election of Craig Miller to State’s Attorney in November’s election, replacing Alvarez further slowed the conclusion of the case.