Plea Agreement Possible for Man Charged in Fatal DUI

Nicholas Sord, 24, of Orland Park, is charged with reckless homicide in a DUI accident that killed a New Lenox woman. Lawyers went into a conference with prosecutors and a Cook County judge Thursday.

A plea agreement could be in the works for Orland Park resident Nicholas Sord, who was charged with reckless homicide in a DUI accident on New Year's Eve more than two years ago.

Sord, 24, was close to three times over the blood-alcohol limit on New Year’s Day 2010 when he lost control of his SUV near 147th Street and Oak Park Avenue, killing 20-year-old Jessica Mejia of New Lenox, according to police.

At a hearing Thursday, Aug. 16, attorneys for Sord asked Judge Frank Zelezinski for a "402 conference," which is listed by the Cook County Guide to the Criminal Justice System as a plea bargaining tool.

In such conferences, the judge hears information about the case that he may not normally hear at trial, including information about the defendant's background, home life, etc. The judge then offers the sentence that he would give should the defendant enter a guilty plea, the guide says.

However, Zelezinski cautioned Sord, if Sord does not accept the sentencing recommendation, he is free to proceed to trial but he won't necessarily be entitled to a new judge.

After the conference, which lasted about 30 minutes, Sord was given an Oct. 25 date to return to court. The Cook County State's Attorney's Office declined to comment on what was discussed in the conference and Sord's family and attorneys also chose to remain silent on details of the case.

But Christine Mejia, Jessica's mother, said Sord's attorneys asked for boot camp for their client, which the judge refused. She said the judge also refused the state's suggested sentence and that there could be a new sentence on the table. 

Mejia was one of several of Jessica's family, friends and advocates in the courtroom Thursday wearing an "I pray for justice for Jessica" button that sports a picture of the smiling brunette.

"I'm just praying the truth comes out today," Mejia said before the conference began. "I'm hoping. We're hoping."

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