South Beloit man sentenced to 15 years in fatal DUI crash

Staff Report

ROCKFORD — A South Beloit man was sentenced to 15 years in prison Thursday for a drunk-driving crash that killed a Rockford man more than three years ago.

James A. Jeffers, 37,  pleaded guilty last October to aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol involving death and aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol involving great bodily harm. He was charged with those offenses after the SUV he was driving on Dec. 4, 2015, hit a Chevy Malibu, leaving the driver, 25-year-old Alex Banks, dead on the Whitman Street Bridge.

An autopsy determined that Banks died from blunt force trauma to the chest and head. His 23-year-old passenger sustained serious injuries.

Jeffers’ blood-alcohol level was above the legal limit of .08 percent, and he also tested positive for cannabis. He was sentenced to 10 years for aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol involving death and five years for influence of alcohol involving great bodily harm. The terms will be served concurrently. Jeffers is required to serve 85 percent of his sentence. R.