JOLIET – A one-time co-defendant in a Joliet murder trial died early Sunday morning after being in a traffic crash.
Jermain K. Bennett, 42, of Joliet, was pronounced dead at 12:05 a.m. Sunday at the emergency department of Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet, according to the Will County Coroner’s Office.
Bennett was riding at 10:37 p.m. Saturday on a Honda CVR 900 motorcycle when he ran into the side of a 2014 Dodge Charger at Third Avenue and Richards Street, according to police and fire reports.
“Witnesses said Bennett was traveling northbound at a high rate of speed when he went into the intersection and struck the westbound Charger,” Deputy Police Chief Ed Gregory said.
Bennett was not wearing a helmet and suffered “massive injuries” as the motorcycle landed on top of him, Gregory said. The coroner’s office said the preliminary cause of death, based on an autopsy done Sunday, was multiple injuries because of the collision.
Loria Ware, 50, of Joliet, was not carrying any passengers in the Charger. Firefighters said Ware declined medical treatment.
“She gave officers permission to go in her car and get her driver’s license from her purse,” Gregory said. “When officers opened the door they smelled a strong odor of cannabis and found baggies of cannabis and [unprescribed] pills in her purse.”
Ware allegedly failed field sobriety tests and was taken to Presence Saint Joseph for a blood draw, according to authorities. She was then taken to the police station for questioning, but complained of chest pains and was taken back to the hospital, Gregory said.
Ware has been charged with aggravated driving under the influence, drug possession and marijuana possession.
On Aug. 9, 2012, Sean D. McGinn arrived to meet Bennett at the KO Zone, a gym they co-owned at 218 E. Cass St. Police said McGinn had brought thousands of dollars to buy cocaine from Bennett, who instead planned to rob him.
Kenneth G. Edwards, Bennett’s cousin, was waiting in the parking lot and shot McGinn twice while Bennett took the cash, according to investigators. Police said the drugs Bennett had promised to deliver did not exist.
Nearby residents overheard the shots and called police. Bennett was arrested the day after McGinn’s slaying, while Edwards was arrested in October 2013.
Bennett initially was charged with murder but last year pleaded guilty to robbery in exchange for testifying against Edwards at his upcoming murder trial. Bennett spent more than three years in jail on the charges, but has been free on bond since April 27 while awaiting sentencing, according to court and jail records, and was subject to house arrest as a condition of his release.
Edwards was released on a recognizance bond after additional DNA testing was needed – jeopardizing his right to a speedy trial, Special Prosecutor Dave Neal has said during court proceedings in the past year.
Minor-Morris Funeral Home is handling Bennett’s arrangements.