Bond set for man charged with reckless homicide, aggravated DUI in Downers Grove North HS student Beth Dunlap's death

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. (WLS) -- Bond was set at $750,000 for a Naperville driver accused of striking and killing a Downers Grove North High School student while drunk.

Joseph Kucharski, 51, is charged with reckless homicide and aggravated DUI causing death, both felonies.

Police said just before 11 a.m. on Feb. 19, Kucharski ran a red light at the intersection of Main and Grant streets before striking 17-year-old Elizabeth Dunlap with his vehicle.

RELATED: Student fatally struck near Downers Grove North High School; driver charged with DUI
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A Naperville man is facing drunk driving charges after allegedly running a red light and critically injuring a student Tuesday morning in front of Downers Grove North High School.



Prosecutors said she was legally walking in a marked crosswalk, steps from her high school, when she was hit.

Dunlap transported to Good Samaritan Hospital, where she was placed in critical care. Ella Sandt, a childhood friend, said Dunlap was taken off life support on Feb. 21.

"It's every parent's worst nightmare. I know that it's a cliche, but it truly is," said Tom Sandt, a family friend.

Prosecutors said at the time of the crash, Kucharski had a blood alcohol content of 0.031 and showed signs of impairment when police spoke with him. Investigators said they found two crack pipes, crack cocaine and other drugs at a hotel room he was staying in.

Dunlap was a junior at Downers Grove North and a well-known volleyball player throughout the region. More than 100 of Dunalp's friends, classmates and teammates gathered at Lyons Township High School South on Feb. 22 to honor her.

"Beth will always be a part of this team," said Kate McGuire, Dunlap's club volleyball coach. "We will hear her voice when we celebrate our wins and we will see her smile when we make big defensive plays. Her courage and fight over the last week is a true representation of the Beth's competitiveness. "

Dunlap's visitation will be held Friday at Adams, Winterfield and Sullivan Funeral Home in Downers Grove.

Judge Liam Brennan set bond at $750,000 on Tuesday. Kucharski's arraignment was scheduled for March 15. If convicted, Kucharski could face up to 14 years in prison.
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