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Crime & Courts

Wrongful death lawsuit filed in DUI crash that killed Geneva grad

Felony charges still pending against Peruzza

GENEVA – A Geneva father, whose son was killed in a car crash last year, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver, seeking more than $50,000, court records show.

David Hanson, father of Nicholas Hanson, 19, who died in a fiery crash Oct. 6, 2017 in St. Charles, filed suit May 31 against Raphael Peruzza, 20, also of Geneva.

Nicholas Hanson was a passenger in the car Peruzza was driving. Also named in the suit is David Beaune, owner of the Jeep Peruzza was driving.

The lawsuit alleges that Peruzza was negligent in that he drove too fast, failed to exercise ordinary care, failed to slow down and failed to apply the brakes, leading him to crash into a tree on the east side of Burr Road near Dean Street in St. Charles Township, and causing Nicholas Hanson’s death.

Nicholas Hanson left behind his parents, three brothers and a sister, who all suffer as a result of his death, the lawsuit stated.

They are to appear in court Aug. 15.

Peruzza was charged with reckless homicide, in that he drove a car while under the influence of alcohol and drove too fast for conditions, court records state.

Peruzza was also charged with aggravated driving under the influence in causing Nicholas Hanson’s death, according to the charging documents.

Peruzza was also charged with driving in the wrong lane and driving too fast for conditions, both traffic offenses, according to court records.

Peruzza pleaded not guilty at his arraignment April 27, court records show.

Peruzza’s bond was initially set at $200,000, but he was later released on his own recognizance, records show.

Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District were notified of the crash by a call from a passerby just before 2:20 a.m. Oct. 6, 2017, officials said.

Both the vehicle and a tree had caught fire and Peruzza had walked away to a residence down the road, Fire Chief John Nixon had reported at the time.

Once firefighters got the blaze under control, they found Nicholas Hanson dead in the passenger seat of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Kane County Sheriff's Office officials had stated at the time.

Peruzza was taken to Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital in Geneva with non-life threatening injuries, fire officials had stated.

Peruzza's next court date for the felony charges is July 11.

The community raised $18,000 to pay for a baseball scoreboard, dedicated in Nicholas Hanson’s name, as he played baseball for Geneva High School.

An additional $7,000 raised was donated to the high school’s baseball program, organizers said.

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