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  Illinois State Police News Release   

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Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office Announces Charges in the Death Investigation of ISP Trooper Kyle Deatherage

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Press Release Date: April 23, 2013

 Johnny B. Felton, Jr.  Charged with Reckless Homicide

(Montgomery County) – The Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office announced charges today in the death investigation of Illinois State Police Trooper Kyle Deatherage.  Trooper Deatherage was killed in the line of duty when he was struck by a truck-tractor semi on I-55 at milepost 62 near Litchfield on November 26, 2012.   Trooper Deatherage was assigned to District 18 as a motorcycle officer and was 32 years old.

Johnny B. Felton Jr., 52, of Hinesville Georgia, was indicted by a Montgomery County Illinois grand jury on April 22, 2013.  The grand jury returned a two count Bill of Indictment. The grand jury indicted Mr. Felton for the class 2 felony offense of Reckless Homicide for his conduct that caused the death of Illinois State Trooper Kyle Deatherage on November 26, 2012.

The indictment alleges that Felton operated a semi-tractor trailer on northbound Interstate 55 at time while he was violating subsection (c) of Section 11-907 of the Illinois Vehicle Code and while acting in a reckless manner, performed acts likely to cause the death of or great bodily harm to an individual in that he operated a motor vehicle, being a 2013 Volvo Semi-Tractor trailer, in violation of the restriction upon his Georgia Commercial Driver’s License, at a speed which was greater than was reasonable and proper with regard to the existing traffic conditions and the safety of persons properly upon the roadway.  

The indictment also states that he failed to change lanes or reduce speed after observing a stationary emergency vehicle with lights activated, and travelled across the fog line, causing his motor vehicle to strike Trooper Kyle Deatherage, thereby causing the death of Trooper Kyle Deatherage.

This charge is a class 2 felony that includes a sentencing range of probation up to the maximum sentence of 14 years incarceration in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Johnny B. Felton Jr. was also charged with a second felony count alleging that he willfully operated a commercial motor vehicle in the State of Illinois when he did not have a valid commercial driver’s license.  Mr. Felton’s commercial driver’s license was issued in the State of Georgia and permitted intrastate commerce only; it did not authorize interstate commerce driving privileges.  This charge is a class 4 felony that includes a sentencing range of probation up to the maximum sentence of 3 years incarceration in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Bond was set at $250,000.00 on the two charges.

“No fine or jail time can begin to replace the courage and honor of this exceptional Trooper, father and husband.  The men and women of the Illinois State Police will never forget Kyle’s unselfish sacrifice and his service to this agency and we will always honor his legacy,” said ISP Director Hiram Grau.  “

Johnny B. Felton was taken into custody this morning, April 23, 2013, in Hinesville, Georgia.  Mr. Felton has waived extradition and is being transported from Georgia to the State of Illinois for arraignment on his pending felony charges.

Johnny B. Felton, Jr. 

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