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A 24-year-old Morris man will spend the next several years in prison. Grundy County court records show Josh Patterson pled guilty to Reckless Homicide, a class 3 felony and was sentenced to five years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. 

As part of the plea agreement, Patterson was given credit for serving 129 days in the Grundy County Jail. During the plea agreement, an Aggravated DUI causing a death charge, which is a class 2 felony, was reduced to the Reckless Homicide charge. 

Court records show a vehicle operated by Patterson was driving and drifting between westbound lanes of Interstate 80 at speeds above 70 miles per hour near Ridge Road on May 31, of 2018.

Due to a sudden movement by Patterson, a Honda driven by Hailey Yarnell, 21, of Bristol, Pennsylvania struck the rear of his vehicle, causing both vehicles headlights to face northbound, making them invisible to approaching traffic.

After the collision, a semi truck struck both vehicles, causing Yarnell to exit her Honda. While standing on the side of the road following the incident, Yarnell was struck by an approaching 2011 Dodge Charger that drove around the semi-truck to avoid a collision.

Yarnell was airlifted to an area hospital where she died a few days later. No other injuries were reported. 

The State’s Attorney’s Office often reaches plea agreements in cases following a careful consideration of the nature of the charges, the facts of the case, a thorough consultation with the crime victim, a review of the offender’s criminal history and weighing aggravating and mitigating factors that exist.