Family of 20-year-old killed in Pecatonica crash calls for justice

Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 5:53 PM CST
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PECATONICA, Ill. (WIFR) - Jericho Porter was the front seat passenger of a car traveling eastbound on U.S. Route 20 when the car collided with a school bus in a work zone. The driver, a 17-year-old juvenile, was treated for his injuries at a local hospital, while Porter was pronounced dead at the scene.

“He was my best friend. I never realized we got as close as we did,” said Porter’s brother Gary Matthews.

“He was so helpful, like to anybody that he could. He was so hard-working,” said his twin brother, Jordan.

Four months after his death, these brothers are demanding justice. They say the 17-year-old driver was going too fast when it plowed into the back of the bus. They say the family pays for the app Life360. This app tracks the speed, location, and phone usage of family members when they’re in a car. A warning notification came through the app that day.

“We pay for the gold membership on Life360, and that warning says it was in the high 80′s,” Jordan said.

However, the brothers say the Illinois State Police, who are heading the investigation, haven’t talked to them about it.

“They have never contacted us at all,” said Matthews.

Matthews thinks the teen should face charges. He says he’s ridden with the 17-year-old before and warned him about driving recklessly.

“I’m like look, you don’t get no do overs in driving, this is not Grand Theft Auto. If you make a mistake, it’s most likely gonna be somebody else’s life,” he told 23 News.

Now these brothers say they must go on without Jericho, while the person behind the wheel drives away, free.

“I look over at that vase, and it’s full of ashes, ashes that was once my brother. And I think about this kid still out there smoking, flicking his ashes, and my baby brother is nothing but ashes sitting in a vase in my momma’s room. That don’t sit right with me, that don’t sit right with none of us,” Matthews said.

The family claims that after the incident, the 17-year-old went to the apartment he shared with Jericho and took things that belonged to their sibling. Items taken included his class ring. They believe it was to hide evidence from police.

The Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office says that because the case involves a juvenile, they have no comment at this time. The Illinois State Police say the investigation is still ongoing.