Driver in Halloween school bus crash that killed siblings was speeding, high on marijuana: court records
An 18-year-old Plato Township man was high on marijuana and speeding when he plowed into the rear of a stopped school bus on Halloween, killing two siblings who were riding with him and severely injuring a third passenger, court records show.
A Kane County grand jury indicted Tyler A. Schmidt, of the 43W000 block of Southgate Road in Plato Township on Dec. 21 of multiple felony charges stemming from the fatal crash that killed Grace and Emil Diewald in Campton Township, according to court records.
The grand jury charged Schmidt with aggravated driving under the influence of drugs and reckless homicide, among other things, records show. The charges were sealed from public disclosure pending Schmidt's arrest and were made public Wednesday, records show.
Schmidt is being held in the Kane County jail on $100,000 bond, with $10,000 or 10% required to be released on bail, records show.
Schmidt's attorney did not return a voicemail message seeking comment.
Records show the grand jury also indicted Schmidt on charges of 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 and failing to slow down to avoid collision with a school bus that was stopped to drop off a student.
A warrant was issued Dec. 21 and Schmidt was arrested Dec. 27, records show.
Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain said based on accident reconstruction and the vehicle's black box data, Schmidt was estimated to have been traveling 5-8 miles over the 45-mile-an-hour speed limit on Empire Road in Campton Township when the crash occurred.
Schmidt was driving a 2013 Lexus SUV eastbound on Empire Road when he crashed into the rear of the school bus, which was stopped near the intersection of Kingswood Drive to drop off a student, police said at the time.
The bus was transporting students home from Lily Lake Grade School, which is part of Central Unit District 301, at about 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 31.
The most serious charge Schmidt faces is aggravated driving under the influence of drugs resulting in the deaths of two or more people -- a Class 2 felony -- punishable by a prison term of six to 28 years if convicted, according to the charging documents.
Aggravated driving under the influence of drugs, a Class 4 felony, is punishable by one to 12 years if convicted, due to the great bodily harm the minor passenger suffered, according to documents.
Grace Diewald, 20, was a front seat passenger; her brother, Emil Diewald, 19, was seated behind her. Both died at the scene, officials said.
The minor passenger, a 17-year-old South Elgin girl, was seated behind Schmidt, officials said. She was flown to Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago, but no condition reports about her are available.
The terms of Schmidt's bond state he is not to drive without a valid license, he is subject to alcohol and drug testing and must be placed on electronic monitoring.
Schmidt is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 6.