Aurora woman convicted in Oswego crash that killed 5 teens enters work-release program

  • Sandra Vasquez

    Sandra Vasquez

Updated 7/29/2021 6:47 PM

An Aurora woman convicted on charges of aggravated drunken driving and reckless homicide in a 2007 crash in Oswego that claimed the lives of five teenagers was released from state prison July 28 and placed in a work-release program, the Kendall County state's attorney's office has confirmed.

In 2010, Kendall County judge sentenced Sandra Vasquez, 37, to 15 years in state prison, plus two years of mandatory supervised release.


Vasquez had been serving her sentence at the Decatur Correctional Center, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections.

According to police reports, Vasquez was giving a ride to eight teenage passengers in her five-passenger Infiniti sedan early in the morning of Feb. 11, 2007, when the vehicle slammed into a utility pole along the east side of Route 31 near River Run Boulevard.

Killed instantly in the crash were Matthew Frank, 17, Tiffany Urso, 16, Jessica Nutoni, 15, and Katherine "Katie" Merkel, 14.

James McGee, 14, died from his injuries one week after the crash.

Three other teen passengers, all seated in the back seat of the car, were injured but survived. All of the passengers were students at Oswego High School.

Vasquez and the teens were coming from a party hosted by one of her cousins at a home owned by Vasquez's aunt in the unincorporated Boulder Hill subdivision.

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Vasquez said she had dropped her sister off at the Boulder Hill home earlier that evening and had visited another relative who lived nearby when her sister later called her and asked for a ride. Vasquez said she received another call from her sister telling her that she was being hassled by another woman at the party, and that she went into the home to help her sister.

Vasquez said that one of the passengers in the car asked her for a ride and that others piled into her car, also wanting a ride.

Vasquez admitted to drinking beer and Jägermeister at her relative's home prior to going to her aunt's home. Her blood alcohol level was measured at .124 following the crash, above the legal threshold of .08.

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