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Driver pleads not guilty in crash that killed Downers Grove student

Elizabeth Dunlap | Source: Margaret Mahlke

WHEATON, Ill. — A suburban Chicago man has pleaded not guilty to charges in connection with a vehicle crash that killed a 17-year-old high school junior.

The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald reports that 51-year-old Joseph Kucharski’s attorney entered the pleas on his behalf Friday. The Naperville man faces nine counts of felony aggravated driving under the influence and two counts of reckless homicide. Authorities say he had been using crack cocaine for four days and had alcohol in his system at the time.

Police say Downers Grove North High School student Elizabeth Dunlap was crossing the street in front of the school around 11 a.m. Feb. 19 when Kucharski ran a red light and hit her. They say Dunlap was in the crosswalk and Kucharski was driving in the wrong lane.

RELATED: $750K bail for driver charged with reckless homicide of Downers Grove student