2nd UPDATE: $3 Million Bail Set in Shooting Prior To Deadly Multi-Car Crash Near Fox Valley Mall

2nd UPDATE: $3 Million Bail Set in Shooting Prior To Deadly Multi-Car Crash Near Fox Valley Mall

Bail is set at $3 million for the man charged in a Feb. 19 shooting that preceded police pursuit and a deadly crash near the Fox Valley Mall.

According to news releases from the Aurora Police Department and the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office, Kane County Judge Michael Noland set bail at $3 million, with 10 percent ($300,000) to apply for bond for 23-year-old Adrien L. Betsinger.

Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon has charged Betsinger with the offenses of:

  • Attempted murder, a Class X felony.
  • Aggravated battery with a firearm, a Class X felony.
  • Six counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm, a Class 1 felony.
  • Felon in possession of a firearm while on parole, a Class 2 felony.

Adrien Betsinger

Kane County prosecutors allege that Betsinger was riding in the front passenger seat of a silver Chevrolet Monte Carlo at about 1:30 p.m. Feb. 19, when he fired multiple shots at the victim, who was driving a vehicle stopped in the 600 block of South Broadway Street.

One of the bullets struck the victim, who immediately drove himself to the hospital, where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries. A witness called police to report the shooting.

An Aurora officer spotted the Monte Carlo fleeing at high speed on New York Street into DuPage County. The Monte Carlo then crashed into several vehicles after it passed Commons Drive near Fox Valley Mall, and split in half, ejecting Betsinger and two other occupants.

All three were taken to the hospital, where the driver of the vehicle, 24-year-old Erik Esparza of Aurora, died. The DuPage County Coroner’s Office performed an autopsy on Thursday.

Noland set Betsinger’s next court appearance for 9 a.m. March 5, 2020, in Courtroom 305 at the Kane County Judicial Center.

APD: Reason For The Pursuit

Police say the gray Chevrolet Monte Carlo was involved in at least two drive-by shootings in a 24-hour period, and that was the primary reason for the pursuit on Wednesday.

The Monte Carlo matched the description of a vehicle wanted in connection to an aggravated discharge of a firearm incident on Tuesday night in the 400 block of South State Street.

“With the knowledge that the offenders in the suspected vehicle were potentially involved in two shooting incidents in less than 24 hours, Aurora Police Department patrol supervisors believed that the offenders in the vehicle posed a great risk to the community at large and allowed officers to continue to pursue,” the Aurora Police Department said in a news release.

A patrol supervisor was monitoring the radio during the pursuit and continuously reviewing the incoming information to determine whether the pursuit should be continued or terminated, police said.

East New York Street was shut down between Route 59 and Commons Drive, near the Fox Valley Mall. ‬(CREDIT: Aurora Police Department)

During the pursuit, Esparza allegedly drove the Monte Carlo at a high rate of speed into oncoming traffic along East New York Street.

As the Monte Carlo was approaching busy Route 59, officers terminated the pursuit, turned off their emergency lights and sirens and slowed their patrol vehicles, police said. Shortly thereafter, the suspects’ vehicle was involved in the crash near the Fox Valley Mall.

Investigators found two illegal guns inside the vehicle, police said.

Aurora Police Department officials say the shooting was gang-related.

Aurora police detectives, evidence technicians from Aurora Police’s Evidence Unit and experts from the department’s Traffic Unit are continuing to investigate the shooting and the crash.

Investigators from the Kane County Major Crimes Task Force were also called to investigate this incident as the State of Illinois Police and Community Relations Improvement Act requires special investigation provisions for serious injuries or deaths including those involving “an individual’s vehicle in the process of apprehension or attempt to apprehend.”

East New York Street was shut down for a number of hours between Route 59 and Commons Drive while the incident was investigated. Volunteers from Aurora’s Emergency Management Agency provided assistance with road closures throughout the incident.

Anyone with information or tips on the incident is asked to call the Aurora Police Department Investigations Division at 630-256-5500.

The charges against Betsinger are not proof of guilt. Betsinger is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

SOURCE: Aurora Police Department news release