An Aurora student whose mother was killed in a fall from a pickup truck he was driving pleaded guilty today to a misdemeanor charge reckless driving and was sentenced to two years of probation.
Antonio Vieyra, 18, of the 1100 block of High Street, had been charged with reckless homicide following the Feb. 1 death of his mother, Ludivina Vieya, 50, who died from head injuries in a fall from the running board of the truck.
The mother had climbed onto the truck in an attempt to get her son to stop as he angrily drove away from the family residence following an argument with his father. Police estimated that the woman held onto the 1995 Dodge 1500 for about 300 yards before she was either ejected or fell off as Vieyra neared his destination -- the home of his maternal grandmother. The vehicle was going about 25 miles per hour.
The argument that sparked the chain of events was over money, the prosecutor said. Vieyra had asked Antonio Vieyra Sr. for cash, and became angry when his father refused to give him any.
"It was something like $5 -- something you would argue about with your parents when you were 17 years old," his attorney, Kathleen Colton, said.
The youth had told police that he did not realize his mother was on the side of the truck.
Had he been convicted on the original charge, which is a class 3 felony, Vieyra could have faced two to five years in prison. However, his family opposed Vieyra's prosecution on a felony count, and neither the father nor the grandmother -- the victim's own mother -- would have willingly testified against Vieyra at a trial, Kane County Assistant State's Atty. Pam Monaco said.
"They wanted to handle it as a family," Monaco said. "They wrote letters to the state's attorney saying they thought this was a fair disposition."
Colton said she felt Vieyra would have been acquitted had the case moved forward, but Vieyra decided to accept the offer to plead guilty to a misdemeanor and spare his family the emotions of a trial.
His mother was Vieyra's best friend, Colton said.
"When I first saw him, less than 24 hours after the accident, he was just hysterical," she said.
In addition to the term of probation, Vieyra was fined and ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. The East Aurora High School senior is a good football player, and hopes to earn a college sports scholarship, Colton said.