Driver arrested in Janesville hit-and-run

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staff, Gazette
Thursday, May 16, 2013

— Illinois authorities have arrested a man they believe was the driver in a Janesville hit-and-run crash that left three teens injured, the Rock County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday.

Emeterio Acosta, 22, of 208 N. Franklin St. was arrested Wednesday morning by Rockford police, according to a news release.

Authorities received a tip that Acosta may have been in Rockford to get money for a flight out of the country, Capt. Jude Maurer said.

Acosta is accused of fleeing the scene of an accident just before 3 a.m. Sunday at County O and the Interstate 90 overpass, according to court documents filed earlier this week.

One of Acosta's passengers, 16-year-old Spencer C. Petitt of Janesville, suffered a life-threatening head injury in the crash and needed emergency surgery, according to court documents.

Two 17-year-old passengers, Ian P. Leach and Devonte D. Page, both of Janesville, were also hurt, authorities said.

The Rock County District Attorney's office issued a warrant for Acosta's arrest Tuesday.

A criminal complaint filed Tuesday charged Acosta with five counts, including causing great bodily harm by reckless driving, causing great bodily harm by driving while revoked and hit and run from a crash that caused great bodily harm.

Petitt was in the intensive care unit of Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center in Janesville as of Wednesday, Maurer said.

Although a doctor warned that his condition was life-threatening, according to the criminal complaint, Maurer said his injuries are no longer that severe.

A hospital spokeswoman declined to give an update on Petitt's condition, citing the boy's age.

Leach told authorities he and the car's other passengers met up with Acosta at a party Saturday night, then left with him driving about 12:45 a.m. Sunday, according to the complaint.

Although Leach told police people were drinking at the party, Maurer said it is not clear if Acosta was intoxicated.

Even if he had been, Maurer said, "the evidence is gone" at this point.

As Acosta drove west on County O, Leach said, he went onto the shoulder, lost control and overcorrected, flipping the car several times, according to court documents.

A man who came upon the crash told deputies he found four young men at the scene when he arrived, but one of them fled, according to the complaint.

Petitt and Page were ejected from the car during the crash, authorities said.

Standing outside the car after the crash, Leach told police he heard Acosta say "I need to get out of here" and didn't see him after that, according to court documents.

Acosta was booked into the Winnebago County Jail on Wednesday afternoon.

Last updated: 10:35 am Tuesday, July 2, 2013

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