Kane judge orders driver in crash that killed 2 to follow electronic monitoring rules

Tyler A. Schmidt was charged felony aggravated driving under the influence; felony reckless homicide; felony aggravated driving under the influence of drugs causing great bodily harm; felony aggravated reckless driving; lesser offenses of failing to reduce his speed to avoid a crash, speeding over the posted limit and failure to stop before reaching a school bus.

A Kane County judge warned a driver involved in the Central School District 301 bus crash on Halloween 2022 that killed two passengers and severely injured a third that his time on electronic home monitoring requires him to be “perfect” or he will go to jail.

Tyler A. Schmidt, 19, of South Elgin was charged with multiple felonies in connection with the crash. The criminal case against him still is pending as are two civil lawsuits for the deaths and injuries of his passengers.

According to court records, Schmidt was indicted Dec. 21, 2022, on charges of felony aggravated driving under the influence of drugs in the deaths of Campton Hills sister and brother Grace and Emil Diewald; felony reckless homicide under the influence of marijuana, speeding and failing to slow down to avoid a crash; felony aggravated driving under the influence of drugs causing great bodily harm to a minor passenger; felony aggravated reckless driving “with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons,” in excess of the speed limit, failing to slow down to avoid collision with a school bus that was stopped to drop off a student.

In an hourlong hearing June 20, Kane County Assistant State’s Attorney Katie Flannagan asked for 30 days in jail for Schmidt, asserting that he had not followed the requirements of home monitoring and pretrial release. Schmidt has been on electronic monitoring since Dec. 28, 2022, after posting $10,000 bail, 10% of the $100,000 bond that was set.

The electronic monitoring bracelet with GPS showed that Schmidt was speeding several times and went to restaurants and a skate park instead of only to work, church or doctor appointments, Flannagan said.

Circuit Judge David Kliment sentenced Schmidt to 14 days in jail, but stayed that order with a review in 30 days to see that he follows the rules.

“Mr. Schmidt, you seem to think that these rules that were set up are advisory and you can pick and choose which ones to obey and disobey,” Kliment said.

“What troubles me most are two things. The skate park, which is obviously you know when you did that you had no business being there. And the speeding,” Kliment said. “The facts of this case indicate speed was a possible issue, among other things.”

Schmidt’s father, David Schmidt, testified that both his sons work for his pool and spa business in unincorporated Gilberts. He said he put larger tires on a Ford Ranger truck that would add nine mph to the measured speed.

Kliment said even if nine [mph] were taken off, Tyler Schmidt was speeding enough to get a ticket.

“The GPS ... was sufficient to show clear and convincing evidence that you violated the terms of your EHM [electronic home monitoring] and your pretrial release,” Kliment said.

When Schmidt now travels from South Elgin where he lives with his mother to his father’s business to get a work truck and tools for pool and spa maintenance, he is to provide a schedule to the sheriff’s office of where he is supposed to be seven days in advance, Monday through Friday only, Kliment said.

“If there’s stuff to do on Saturday and Sunday, your dad or your brother can do it. You can’t,” Kliment said. “Your attorney stated you are young and immature and you need to be admonished. You need to be perfect. You need to be perfect on this EHM from now on and all the terms of your pretrial release. If you are not perfect, I’m going to put you in jail. Do you understand that?”

“Yes,” Schmidt replied.

Schmidt was ticketed for speeding 76 mph in a 55-mph zone in the area of Plank Road and Illinois Route 47 in Hampshire on May 4, according to testimony from Kane County Sheriff’s Deputy Steven Burch.

In further testimony, Deputy Bryan Mann said a review of Schmidt’s location and speed – as recorded from his monitoring bracelet with GPS – showed he drove 86 mph on Interstate 90 on May 14, 85 mph and 84 mph on I-90 on May 20, 90 mph and 91 mph on I-90 on May 25 and 82 mph at Kendall and Southgate roads in Plato Township on June 6.

Schmidt went to a Jimmy John’s and Dunkin’ in Huntley, a JuRinn Japanese restaurant in South Elgin, a skate park in South Elgin and an abandoned building on Silver Glen Road in St. Charles – all contrary to the rules of electronic monitoring, Mann said.

Schmidt’s next court appearance was scheduled for June 26.