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Trial opens in drunken driving crash that killed Yorkville man

Updated: November 7, 2012 12:24PM

YORKVILLE — Testimony began Monday in the trial of a Yorkville man accused of killing his friend in an April car crash.

Keith Stanislaus, 22, of the 500 block of Yellowstone Drive, Yorkville, is charged with felony aggravated drunken driving leading to the death of 21-year-old Ryan Perina of Bristol.

Prosecutors contend that Stanislaus was driving his 1999 Honda Civic when it veered off the highway near Kennedy and McHugh roads, sheared off a utility pole at the bottom, hit several small trees and ended up in the yard of a home on Kennedy Road.

On Monday, paramedics testified that they found Perina, of the 500 block of Yellowstone Drive, in the front seat of the car. Perina was lying across another friend Jedidiah Lightfoot, 20, of the 0-99 block of Hillside Drive, Yorkville. Perina suffered severe injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. Lightfoot survived the crash.

The back seat of the car was so crushed that it was nearly touching the front seat, paramedics testified Monday.

According to a warrant filed in Kendall County, officers who talked to Stanislaus the day of the crash said he had bloodshot and glassy eyes, slurred speech and a strong odor of alcohol. Police found a broken rum bottle and a pipe for smoking marijuana a few feet from the car.

When paramedics arrived, Stanislaus was standing outside the car. Lightfoot was wearing the seatbelt — still buckled — from the front passenger seat, prosecutors said.

However, the seatbelt was stretched so Lightfoot was closer to the driver’s seat, and defense attorney Gary Johnson seemed to suggest that Stanislaus may not have been driving when the crash occurred.

Perina was a 2009 graduate of Yorkville High School, where he had wrestled and played baseball. He was working with his family’s construction business at the time of his death.

The trial is scheduled to resume Tuesday with more prosecution witnesses. The jury could begin deliberations before the end of the week.

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