A driver has been charged with DUI after his SUV veered off the road and rolled over near Wheaton, killing an 18-year-old high school student riding with him, police said.
The 2003 Ford Explorer was heading south on Shaffner Road near Mack Road around 10:30 p.m. Thursday when it left the road, police said. Police closed Shaffner Road in both directions for five hours overnight.
Stephanie Pickett, a Wheaton Warrenville South High School senior, was taken to Central DuPage Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
The driver, Karlos Leath, 31, was injured and also taken to Central DuPage Hospital. Leath, of Warrenville, was charged with two counts of DUI, causing a death, authorities said. He appeared in DuPage bond court this morning where he was ordered held on $1 million bail.
In 2003 Leath was required to get high risk insurance and in February of 2003 his license was suspended after he failed to do so. He was later convicted of driving with a suspended license in 2009 and in 2011, according to Secretary of State records.
His license was reinstated last month, according to state records.
Erica Loiacono, director of public relations for District 200, issued a statement from Wheaton Warrenville South High School. “Stephanie Pickett was an out-going, friendly, and kind-hearted student who will be missed by students and staff alike. We extend our deepest condolences to Stephanie’s family.”
Pickett worked at Happy Paws Pet Resort in Carol Stream --starting about four to six weeks ago -- where she helped clean out kennels and take care of the animals, said owner John Marek.
“She very much enjoyed working with dogs,” he said. “She only started working here. … She was very outgoing, very exuberant.”
An earlier statement from the school district said "our district and school crisis team has been put into place and is offering assistance to any students or staff who need to talk to someone about this tragic event. Please encourage your students to seek out assistance if they need to talk to someone.
"Our thoughts and condolences are with the Pickett family and friends."