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Aurora man gets 13 years for 2016 DUI crash that left 9-year-old girl dead

Anthony S. Potochney | Aurora police

A 25-year-old man has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for driving under the influence when he caused a 2016 crash that left a 9-year-old girl dead and two other kids injured in west suburban Aurora.

Anthony S. Potochney, of Aurora, pleaded guilty in October to three counts of aggravated DUI and one count of failure to stop after an accident involving personal injury or death, all felonies, according to the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office.

About 9:10 p.m. Oct. 7, Potochney was driving a 2003 Cadillac Deville south on Broadway Avenue near Pierce Street in downtown Aurora when it drifted into the northbound lanes, prosecutors said.

The driver of a 2009 Toyota Sienna minivan in the northbound lanes tried to avoid the Deville by making a sharp turn to the left, but the car struck the minivan on its passenger side, the state’s attorney’s office said. The Sienna then crashed into a building on the west side of Broadway.

Potochney was driving at least 75 mph in a 35 mph zone at the time of the crash, police said.

A passenger in the minivan, 9-year-old Katie Jonak of Aurora, was taken to Mercy Hospital and Medical Center and pronounced dead at 9:44 p.m., Aurora police said at the time.

Two other children in the minivan, ages 10 and 12, were also taken to Mercy with a bruised lung and a broken bone, police said. Katie’s mother, who was driving the minivan, refused medical treatment.

The mother and three children were on their way home from a play rehearsal, police said.

Potochney ran away after the crash, but was later taken into custody near the High Street Bridge that crosses the Burlington Northern railroad tracks, police said.

Potochney was taken to Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora with injuries that weren’t believed to be life-threatening, police said. His blood-alcohol level was found to be .193 when he was tested over four hours later. He also tested positive for marijuana.

He admitted to drinking 6 Coors Lights, 4 Captain Morgans and smoking marijuana the evening of the crash, police said.

Potochney will serve the terms consecutively for 13 years, prosecutors said. He receives credit for 539 days served in the Kane County jail.