(This story was updated on Friday, September 8 at 10:55 a.m. to include the following original content from a press release issued by DuPage County on Friday, September 8, 2023. The original content created on Thursday, September 7 is included at the bottom of this story.)
DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin and West Chicago Chief of Police Colin Fleury announced today that bond has been set for a West Chicago man accused of leaving the scene of a fatal accident in which he was allegedly involved. Jose Barrera Munoz, 40 (d.o.b. 5/21/1983) of the 300 block of Church Street, appeared at a bond hearing this afternoon where Judge Joshua Dieden set bond at $500,000 with 10% to apply. Barrera Munoz is charged with one count of Leaving the Scene of an Accident Causing Death (Class 1 Felony) and one count of Driving While License Suspended – 2nd Offense (Class 4 Felony).
On September 6, 2023, at approximately 7:15 p.m., West Chicago police officers responded to a traffic crash with injuries on Neltnor Boulevard and Kings Circle. Upon their arrival, officers found the victim lying on the ground. The victim was immediately transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced deceased approximately one hour later. Through their investigation, officers learned that Barrera Munoz was allegedly making a left-hand turn northbound onto Neltnor Boulevard in front of the victim who was riding a motorcycle southbound on Neltnor Boulevard. It is alleged that the victim was unable to stop his motorcycle in time and crashed into the driver’s side of Barrera Munoz’s Toyota Corolla, causing him to fly off his motorcycle and land on the ground. It is further alleged that after the crash, Barrera Munoz fled the scene on foot. West Chicago police officers located Barrera Munoz at approximately 2 a.m. the following morning at a West Chicago residence. He was taken into custody at that time without incident.
“If you are involved in an accident, fatal or not, not stopping is not an option,” Berlin said. “The allegation that Mr. Barrera Munoz was involved in a crash that sent a man flying off his motorcycle and onto the ground and that instead of rendering aid, he fled on foot, leaving his car behind, are extremely upsetting,” Berlin said. “Additionally, the actions alleged against Mr. Barrera Munoz are not only disgraceful, they are also illegal. I extend my sincerest condolences to the victim’s family and friends as they grieve this senseless, terrible loss. I thank the West Chicago Police Department for their efforts in the quick identification and apprehension of the defendant in this case as well as DuPage MERIT Major Crash Reconstruction Team for their work in piecing together what allegedly happened that night. I also thank Assistant State's Attorneys Sara Henley and Michael Pingaj for their work in preparing a strong case against the defendant.”
"When you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, the law requires that you stop,” Fleury said. “Had Mr. Barrera Munoz complied with the law, he may have found himself facing less severe charges than he is now. On behalf of the West Chicago Police Department, I offer our condolences to the victim’s family for their tragic loss. I thank our police officers who worked tirelessly through the night to locate the defendant in this case. I also thank State’s Attorney Bob Berlin and his office for their work and for filing appropriate charges against Mr. Barrera Munoz.”
Barrera Munoz’s next court appearance is scheduled for October 2, 2023, for arraignment in front of Judge Brian Telander.
Members of the public are reminded that this complaint contains only charges and is not proof of the defendant's guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the government's burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
(Original story published on the City of West Chicago website on Thursday, September 7 at 3:45 p.m.)
At approximately 7:15 p.m. on Wednesday, September 6, West Chicago Police Officers responded to the area near N. Neltnor Boulevard and Kings Circle for a traffic accident involving a car and motorcycle.
Upon reaching the scene, officers discovered a male victim in the roadway. Witnesses informed attending officers that the victim was the driver of the motorcycle and reported that the other driver had left the area on foot.
West Chicago Fire Protection District paramedics transported the victim to Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield where he was pronounced deceased at 8:10 p.m. The name of the victim is being withheld pending notification of the family.
During the course of their investigation, the West Chicago Police Department identified the alleged driver of the car to be Jose L. Barrera-Munoz (40 y.o.a.) of West Chicago.
Barrera-Munoz was located at a West Chicago residence, where he was taken into custody and charged with one count of Failure to Report an Accident Involving Death, a Class 1 Felony, and one count of Driving While License Suspended, a Class 4 Felony. He was later transported to DuPage County Jail and is currently awaiting his bond court appearance.
Members of the public are reminded that individuals charged with a criminal offense are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.