DeKalb man enters plea of ‘not guilty’

By Mark McGowan

A DeKalb man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to four counts of reckless homicide for the two November deaths of passengers in his car.

John P. Denton, 22, 630 N. Annie Glidden Rd., entered the “routine” plea and will appear in court again March 14, said DeKalb State’s Attorney Mike Coughlan. DeKalb Police charged Denton with driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident.

“A plea of not guilty is not unusual this early,” Coughlan said. “No pre-trial motions have been filed.”

Denton and his passengers, Katrina M. Tabor, 20, DeKalb, and Jamie L. Tucker, 21, Sycamore, allegedly drove across railroad tracks on North Seventh Street Nov. 4 when the crossing gates were lowered.

Denton’s Oldsmobile Toronado was struck by an oncoming westbound train. Both Tabor and Tucker died from injuries received in the 2:14 a.m. accident.

Denton’s four counts of reckless homicide—two stemming from each death—are reckless driving while under the influence of alcohol and reckless driving while legally intoxicated.

The charges are different because a DUI driver does not necessarily have to be legally intoxicated, Coughlan said.

Denton also faces a Class 4 felony charge for possession of cocaine, Coughlan said.

“The law provides a charge for being under the influence of cocaine and alcohol, but it has not been charged yet,” he said.

If found guilty, Denton could receive two to five years in prison with a two-year parole and up to a $10,000 fine, Coughlan said.