Teen convicted of fatal drag race back in custody after failing to show for jail

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Jeremy A. Betancourt | Lake County sheriff’s office

A north suburban teen, sentenced to periodic imprisonment for his role in a fatal street-racing crash, is back in custody after failing to appear for a court hearing and a weekend in jail, according to police.

Jeremy A. Betancourt, 19, of Antioch failed to show up in court April 29 for a probation revocation hearing, according to the Lake County sheriff’s office. A $250,000 failure to appear warrant was issued at the time.

Then on April 3 a $1 million escape warrant was issued after Betancourt failed to return to the Lake County Jail Work Release program to serve part of his periodic imprisonment, the sheriff’s office said.

Sheriff’s deputies and U.S. Marshals found and arrested him about 1:40 pm Thursday at a relative’s house in the 2600 block of West 36th Street in Chicago, according to police.

He was returned to the Lake County Jail and is scheduled to appear in bond court at 9 a.m. Friday.

In June 2014, Betancourt was sentenced to 30 months periodic imprisonment and four years intensive probation for his role in a crash that killed Antioch High student Cynthia Perez, who was 16 at the time.

He is to be held in the jail and only released for school and treatment.

He pleaded guilty to aggravated driving under the influence of marijuana resulting in death, and under a plea deal, charges of aggravated street racing and reckless homicide were dropped.

The crash happened June 24, 2013, on Route 120, just east of Hunt Club Road near Gages Lake, while Betancourt was street racing with another car. Perez, a passenger in Betancourt’s car, was ejected and died at the scene.

The other driver, Michael R. Dawson, then 19, of Antioch, pleaded guilty to aggravated street racing in 2013 and was sentenced to 30 months of intensive probation and 18 months of periodic imprisonment.

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