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Plainfield man gets 10 years for DUI crash that killed motorcyclist

Michael Moreno

Michael Moreno

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Updated: July 2, 2013 7:22AM

Before being sentenced for causing a deadly road rage crash, Michael Moreno sought mercy from a DuPage County judge and forgiveness from the relatives of his victim.

He received some sympathy from Judge George Bakalis, who imposed a 10-year prison term — far less than the 20-year sentence sought by prosecutors.

But relatives of 63-year-old Gerald Puglise weren’t ready Wednesday to accept Moreno’s teary apology or offer any forgiveness.

“Not from me,” said Puglise’s son, Matt, after Moreno was ordered to prison for triggering the June 13, 2012 crash in Naperville.

“I think I can at some point. Not today,” added Gerald Puglise’s stepson, Aldo Datoli.

Moreno, 32, was convicted earlier this year of felony DUI and leaving the scene of a fatal crash in connection with Gerald Puglise’s death.

The Plainfield man was angrily chasing another car he claimed had previously cut him off when he turned left through oncoming traffic at Ogden and River roads, prosecutors said.

Puglise wasn’t involved in that altercation, but died when his motorcycle slammed into Moreno’s Infiniti M45 sedan in the intersection. Tests after the crash showed Moreno had traces of cocaine and marijuana in his system, though his attorneys argued at his trial he wasn’t impaired.

Gerald Puglise, a retired electrician from Lombard, had alcohol and a prescription painkiller in his body when he died, tests later showed. Prosecutors have contended his actions played no role in the crash.

Moreno sobbed as he apologized, saying he will be haunted by Puglise’s death for the rest of his life.

“I’m filled with the utmost guilt and deep regrets,” he said, looking across the courtroom at more than a dozen of Puglise’s relatives and friends. “Please find it in your hearts to please forgive me.”

Bakalis said he believed Moreno — the father of two young sons — was genuinely remorseful.

“He’s distraught,” Bakalis said of Moreno, who has four prior felony convictions.

Puglise’s relatives wanted a longer prison term for Moreno, who likely will spend about six years behind bars.

“It’s disappointing,” Datoli said of the sentence. “I don’t think justice has truly been served.”

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