Michigan man pleads guilty to Aggravated DUI in fatal collision at Balmoral Racetrack

January 9

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced today that a Michigan man has pleaded guilty to aggravated driving while under the influence of alcohol in connection with a 2011 collision that caused the death of a woman at Balmoral Park Racetrack.

Angus D. Lake, 42, faces between three and 14 years in prison when he is sentenced by Circuit Judge Richard Schoenstedt on March 15.

Lake was driving his Dodge Ram Truck while intoxicated in the early-morning hours of April 11 on Backstretch Road at the track when he struck a horse that was carrying two riders.

One of the riders, Michelle Eustis, 25, died from head injuries she suffered when she was thrown from the horse. A second rider, Heather France, who was 21 at the time, suffered injuries that included a broken leg. The horse suffered a gash along its hindquarter but survived.

Lake had been drinking with the two women earlier in the evening and morning at a barn on the track grounds. Eustis and France decided to take the horse for a ride. Lake took his truck to look for them after they were gone for about 30 minutes.

The defendant’s blood-alcohol level was tested at .147 shortly after the collision with the horse. He has a prior conviction from Michigan for operating a vehicle while impaired in 2005 and from Ohio for assault in 2004.

Assistant State’s Attorneys Steve Platek and Jessica Colon-Sayre prosecuted the case.

Man sentenced to 61 years for 2009 murder inside Joliet apartment

January 6

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced that a Joliet man who gunned down another man inside the Lois Place apartment complex in 2009 has been sentenced to 61 years in prison.

Circuit Judge Amy Bertani-Tomczak sentenced Pedro Sanchez, 33, on Friday. A jury in March found Sanchez guilty of two counts of first-degree murder for the killing of Robert Gooch on May 22, 2009. Another man, Jesus Zambrano, 20, of Joliet, also has been charged with murder and is awaiting trial.

Sanchez and Zambrano confronted Gooch at the apartment of Gooch’s girlfriend, Ellissa Hinton, according to trial testimony. Hinton testified she would have sex occasionally with Sanchez, but that she didn’t want to leave Gooch so her relationship with Sanchez could go further.

Hinton testified she and Gooch had watched the NBA playoffs and had gone to bed on the night of the murder. Later that evening, Gooch answered the apartment’s buzzer while she remained in the bedroom. She testified she heard Sanchez’s voice in the living room and someone saying “my girl” just before she heard a single gunshot.

She went to the living room to find Gooch lying on the floor bleeding from the head. An autopsy later revealed Gooch died from a gunshot wound to the back of the head. Gooch’s two young children were sleeping on a sofa bed in the living room at the time of the murder.

“It was an act of unspeakable depravity to shoot an unarmed man in the head while his two children slept nearby,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “Pedro Sanchez can spend the next 61 years in prison contemplating this vicious murder and the trauma he caused the victim’s two children.”  

Assistant State’s Attorneys Michael Fitzgerald and Dan Walsh entered into evidence security tapes from the apartment complex showing Sanchez and Zambrano arriving at the parking lot in the defendant’s car, getting out of the vehicle and then returning to the car. Another witness testified he saw Zambrano retrieve a gun from under the hood of Sanchez’s car before the two entered the apartment complex.

The gun was never recovered and there was no direct evidence to show whether Sanchez or Zambrano pulled the trigger. However, Fitzgerald and Walsh argued that Sanchez and Zambrano both are accountable under the law, regardless of which one fired the weapon.

Zambrano also faces two counts of first-degree murder. The Will County State’s Attorney’s Office reminds the public that charges and indictments are not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

State’s Attorney Glasgow partners with Illinois State Crime Commission to provide additional law enforcement self-defense training

January 6

JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow once again is partnering with the Illinois State Crime Commission (ISCC) to provide highly specialized self-defense training for law enforcement officers.

State’s Attorney Glasgow and the Crime Commission, under the leadership of Executive Director Jerry Elsner, will offer free Martial Arts training to police officers throughout the region. The training will be held from 2:30-8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4 at the Victory Martial Arts Academy, 15414 70th Court in Orland Park.

This is the second in an ongoing series of specialized training for law enforcement officers. The upcoming training will be conducted by Dion Riccardo, a master instructor in the Filipino Martial Arts Stick Combat. The co-instructor of this training will be Dave Gomez, director of Martial Arts for the Police and the Sheriffs Athletic Leagues of Illinois.

“The Illinois State Crime Commission is committed to providing local police officers with the kind of hardcore self-defense training they need on the street to protect themselves and the public,” said ISCC Executive Director Elsner. “This training will be even more important as police agencies throughout the region prepare for this spring’s G-8 and NATO summits.”

State’s Attorney Glasgow said: “The Illinois State Crime Commission’s key concerns have always been officer safety and protecting civilians. I am proud to partner with the Crime Commission once again to offer the kind of police training that accomplishes both of these critical goals.”

Dion Riccardo has more than 25 years of tactical training experience and holds instructor credentials in kick boxing, Jiu-Jitsu, Filipino Martial Arts (Weapons) and Jeet Kune Do. He has trained with some of the world’s elite Martial Arts instructors. Riccardo is the founder of Victory Martial Arts Academies. He is a regularly sought seminar instructor and has taught various law enforcement and military defensive tactics courses.

Dave Gomez, a 21-year employee of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, also has more than 25 years of training and experience. He has been an ardent student and Martial Arts instructor and has trained in Tae Kwon Do, Boxing, Jun Fan Gung Fu, Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He holds instructor certification in Tang So Do, Filipino Martial Arts and Jeet Kune Do. He will focus on proper defensive tactics for law enforcement officers. He is a member of the Police Athletic League of Illinois and has participated in several charity events focusing on assistance to children. 

Spaces available for the free training are limited. For information or to enroll, contact the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office at (815) 723-1630. Or visit the Illinois State Crime Commission Web site at illinoiscrimecommission.com.