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Rockford woman charged in I-90 crash that killed 6-year-old, injured six other children

Authorities say a Rockford woman was driving impaired on a suburban expressway in June when she lost control of an SUV carrying her seven children, one of whom — a 6-year-old boy — was killed in the rollover crash.

Only two of the children, who ranged in age from 2 to 15, were properly restrained, prosecutors said during a bond hearing Tuesday for Doniqua Hilliard.

Hilliard, 37, is charged with aggravated DUI involving a death, aggravated DUI causing an accident or great bodily harm and misdemeanor ending the life of a child in connection with the single-vehicle crash that occurred at 12:23 p.m. on June 12 in the eastbound lanes of I-90 near Barrington Road in Hoffman Estates.

Cook County Judge Ellen Mandeltort set bail at $200,000 and prohibited Hilliard from driving or using drugs or alcohol if released, explaining that she did so “in light of the fact that a 6-year-old child died and three other children still have serious medical conditions; in light of the fact that only two (of the children) were properly restrained.”

Mandeltort also prohibited Hilliard from having unsupervised contact with the surviving children.

Illinois State Police, including traffic crash reconstruction experts, determined Hilliard was driving a 2003 GMC Yukon when the SUV veered left and struck the concrete median, said Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Lorna Amado-Chevlin.

The SUV then traveled south across all four traffic lanes, flipped over 1½ times and landed on its roof along the right shoulder, Amado-Chevlin said.

The Air Bag Control Module revealed the vehicle was traveling 94 mph seconds before the crash, Amado-Chevlin said, adding the investigation revealed some of the children were sitting on the floor of the Yukon.

Three children were hospitalized with nonlife-threatening injuries, according to prosecutors. Four had life-threatening injuries, including leg and skull fractures, a broken pelvis and broken ribs. Some are still being treated, Amado Chevlin said, and two were placed in “neuro-protective states.”

According to Amado-Chevlin, police recovered from the driver’s-side floor a blunt that tested positive for one gram of marijuana. THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, also was present in the Hilliard’s urine, she said.

The defendant told police she “took a hit off a blunt” before she left her Rockford home and planned to smoke the rest of it after she dropped the children off at their grandfather’s house in Chicago, Amado-Chevlin said.

Hilliard is next scheduled to appear in court Oct. 14

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