Woman charged for Aurora doctor’s death wins jail release in reckless homicide case

Marie Aiello

A Joliet woman accused in the 2022 deadly crash that killed an Aurora doctor has been released from jail.

On Thursday, Kankakee County Judge William Dickenson granted a defense motion to allow the release of Maria Aiello, 47, of Joliet from jail under the SAFE-T Act.

That state law changed the cash bail requirement for criminal defendants on Sept. 18. The law allows judges some discretion based on public safety concerns or likelihood of the defendant to flee.

After a detention hearing, Dickenson had determined that there was no “clear and convincing evidence” to keep Aiello detained in the Will County jail, according to court records.

Aiello was released from jail Thursday. She will appear in court Dec. 12 for a pretrial hearing.

Dickenson ordered Aiello to be placed on home confinement with electronic monitoring. She also must obtain a drug and alcohol evaluation and comply with treatment.

Dickenson found that Aiello was unable to pay for the electronic monitoring fees herself and ordered those fees to be paid by Will County circuit court.

However, Aiello must pay for all costs associated with the loss or damage to the electronic monitoring device, court records show.

Aiello, a former investigator for the Will County Public Defender’s Office, has been charged with causing the March 15, 2022, crash in Joliet that took the life of Dr. Ednalice Pagan-Romney, 50, of Aurora.

The doctor died inside a vehicle that caught on fire after the crash.

Aiello is accused of driving up to 111 mph while high on PCP and other drugs before causing the crash. She is charged with reckless homicide, aggravated driving under the influence and unlawful possession of hydrocodone, which is an opioid drug that relieves pain.

Prosecutors had opposed Aiello’s release from jail, saying that she poses a “real and present threat to the physical safety of any person or person or the community” because she is charged with reckless homicide and an aggravated driving under the influence offense that led to a death.

Aiello’s attorney, Daniel Walsh, requested her release from jail because she was kept there on a $500,000 bond that was no longer authorized with the implementation of the SAFE-T Act.