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Huber pleads guilty to drag-racing

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

Huber pleads guilty to drag-racing

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
June 7, 2013

Daniel ("Potatoe") Huber pled guilty Wednesday morning to felony charges that resulted from a single-vehicle crash last July 1 at 2:00AM that killed two Woodstock teenagers, Alec Kaiser and Jacob Norys.

Huber and Kaiser were drag-racing west on Davis Road, when Kaiser lost control of the car he was driving and crashed. Kaiser was driving the Norys family car, which had been taken by Jacob Norys without parental permission for a late-night joyride. Neither Norys nor Kaiser had valid driving privileges, since both were 16.

Huber's arrest was due to excellent investigative work by a specialized unit of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department. They tracked down a video from the Mobil station on Route 47 that captured a Woodstock Police officer talking to Norys and Kaiser. Plus they examined cell phone records for clues. (These were part of the Coroner's files on the crash.)

Huber, Kaiser and Norys were recorded on video at the Mobil station on Route 47 at Davis Road, where a Woodstock Police officer spoke with them shortly before the crash and apparently asked only if they were old enough to smoke.

A previous FOIA request for reports at the Woodstock Police Department was denied, citing that there were no reports. I wonder if that is still the case. The officer's identity is known to the Department, and his contact with Kaiser, Norys and Huber should have been fully documented immediately after the crash became known. I suspect it is likely that the Woodstock Police Department will, rightly or wrongly, get dragged into a lawsuit, and the Department will need complete and truthful information.

The Northwest Herald reported that Huber was racing (two) Woodstock teens. He wasn't. Kaiser was driving the car owned by the Norys family, and Jacob Norys was at the time a passenger. Huber was racing Kaiser.

Aside from the fact that Kaiser wasn't licensed to drive at that hour (nor was Norys), he was an inexperienced driver in an unfamiliar car, driving at high speed on a hilly road. I suspect that, when he topped the last hill, the headlights shone ahead and he lost sight of the roadway. He steered slightly to the right, ran briefly onto the right shoulder, over-corrected and left the roadway on the left side. Sheriff's Department reports, currently unavailable, should indicate where Huber was, when Kaiser left the roadway.

Cell phone records indicated that a call was placed from Kaiser's phone to Huber ("listed as 'Potatoe' in Kaiser's phone) at 1:58AM, immediately prior to the time of the crash. Only Huber knows the content of that call and with whom he was speaking, and if the conversation was in progress at the time of the crash.

Huber didn't stick around after the crash. He didn't report it or call for help. A rumor at the time was that there was a passenger in Huber's car, but she has never been identified in the press. Her name may be in the reports at the sheriff's department.

Sentencing will be on August 9th for the guilty pleas on two charges of street racing and two charges of obstructing justice. All charges are Class 4 felonies.

The crash was investigated by the Accident Investigation Unit of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department. Without their dedicated work, the crash could have been written off as a single-vehicle crash with no one else involved. Instead, their careful work uncovered clues and details, and they were able to identify Huber's involvement and the name of his female passenger.

Hats off to the Accident Investigation Unit for its work on that July 1, 2012 crash.

No doubt some are going to ask me why I include all the accident details here. Every parent of a young driver should sit his kid down and go over all the factors here - all the bad decisions that led to the lives of two kids cut short.

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