CLINTON — An Illinois man entered an open guilty plea Thursday to one count of homicide by vehicle in connection with the August 2019 hit-and-run death of Emiliano Barrios.
Eddie L. Crout Jr., 29, of Joliet, Illinois, pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of homicide by vehicle, reckless manner, as an habitual offender, a Class C felony. The plea agreement says the State at sentencing will dismiss one count of leaving the scene of a fatal accident as a habitual offender, a Class D felony. The agreement says Crout is aware and understands the provisions of Iowa Code regarding restitution for Barrios’s death.
Sentencing is scheduled for 9:45 a.m. Aug. 6. The charge carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
According to the court affidavit, at 9:28 p.m. Aug. 30, Clinton police officers were dispatched to the 700 block of South Sixth Street for a report of a hit-and-run accident involving a pedestrian. Barrios was found deceased on the roadway and the suspected offending vehicle was found about one block away near the intersection of Sixth Avenue South and Eighth Street after striking a tree.
The vehicle also had fresh damage to the front of the vehicle consistent with striking a pedestrian. The windshield was broken and there was blood on the roof of the vehicle, court documents state. The driver fled the scene on foot prior to police arrival. Multiple witnesses at the scene indicated the vehicle was traveling well above the speed limit, which was listed at 25 miles per hour. Witnesses also stated they heard squealing tires and an engine revving prior to Barrios being struck.
The affidavit states that at 10:38 p.m. Aug. 30, officers responded to the Clinton Police Department for a report of a stolen vehicle. Samantha J. Spadaro, of Clinton, the registered owner of the vehicle involved in the incident, reported her vehicle was stolen from her residence by someone unknown. The officer noticed a substance consistent with blood on Spadaro’s phone. Spadaro did not have knowledge about how the blood got on her cell phone.
The affidavit continues that an examination of the cell phone revealed several potential leads in the fatal hit-and-run investigation. Spadaro’s mother was interviewed. She said she received a phone call from Crout, who admitted to being involved in an accident with Spadaro’s vehicle and needed to be picked up. The mother drove to Spadaro’s residence and told her Crout was trying to find a ride after an accident with her vehicle. The mother said Spadaro took her vehicle to locate Crout.
The affidavit states that through the interview with Spadaro’s mother, it was determined Spadaro knew Crout had her vehicle at the time of the accident and filed a false stolen vehicle report with the Clinton Police Department. It was also determined Crout had possession of Spadaro’s cell phone during the time of the hit-and-run crash, court records state. It was determined Crout made calls from Spadaro’s cell phone to get a ride after he was involved in the accident.
Spadaro was sentenced on one count of making a false report of indictable offense to a public entity, a serious misdemeanor. She was ordered to serve 10 days in the Clinton County Jail with 10 days suspended. A $315 fine was imposed.