NBC 5 Investigates has found that Rami Z. Matariyeh, of Homer Glen, was on probation for a felony drug conviction at the time of the fatal crash on I-55 on Sunday – a crash where Matariyeh is now charged with seven felony counts of DUI, failure to report an accident, and reckless homicide.
NBC 5 Investigates has also found that the 22-year-old Matariyeh has been cited at least nine times in the Chicago area for traffic violations in less than four and a half years – almost always for speeding.
The timeline of Matariyeh’s encounter with Chicago-area courts – mostly for traffic violations – shows a series of often-overlapping cases, resulting in at least five trips to traffic school; at least four six-month supervision periods; two stints of community service, and at least two required essays – all for traffic violations:
• 11/8/2014: Matariyeh is 17 years old when Lockport police charge his with driving 21-25 miles per hour above the speed limit. His case goes to Will County Court.
• 12/2014: A Will County judge orders Matariyeh to attend a traffic driver safety program and complete 25 hours of public service, on the Lockport speeding charges from the previous month.
• 2/8/2015: Illinois State Police stop Matariyeh, now 18, in Grundy County, and charge him with speeding 26-34 miles per hour above the speed limit.
• 2/17/2015: Matariyeh reports back to the judge in Will County that he’s successfully completed the traffic driver safety program for the November, 2014 Lockport charges.
• 2/22/2015: Five days later, Lockport police again stop Matariyeh, and open up second case against him in Will County Court – this time for driving 15-20 miles per hour above the speed limit.
• 3/2/2015: Back in Grundy County Court, Matariyeh pleads guilty to a reduced charge of driving 15-20 miles per hour above the speed limit, from his arrest in early February. He is sentenced to six months’ supervision, driver education, and a fine of $200.
• 3/13/2015: Eleven days after receiving the six months of supervision in Grundy County, Matariyeh is sentenced to six months of supervision in Will County, after pleading guilty to the speeding charge from his second arrest there on February 22nd. He’s also ordered to attend Driver Education School and pay a $120.00 fine.
• 3/20/2015: Seven days later, Matariyeh returns to Will County Court (for his first Lockport speeding conviction), where he submits the essay he was required to write as part of his sentencing for that November, 2014 citation.
• 4/27/2015: Back in Grundy County court, Matariyeh submits a certificate showing his completion of a defensive driving course from GOTOTRAFFICSCHOOL.COM.
• 4/27/2015: That very same day, over in Will County Court, there’s an entry in Matariyeh’s second case – the one where he pled guilty to speeding in February, 2015, saying “traffic driver safety program successfully completed.”
• 6/14/2015: At this point -- according to court records -- Matariyeh is serving two separate terms of six months’ supervision, when he is stopped by Illinois State Police, and charged with driving 21-25 miles per hour above the speed limit. The case heads – once again – to Will County Court – his third one there.
• 8/6/2015: Matariyeh – still apparently under supervision in two counties – pleads not guilty to the speeding charges from June.
• 10/1/2015: Matariyeh (whose two supervisions in Grundy and Will Counties may be coming to an end) changes his plea to guilty, and agrees to 25 hours of community service work at the Warren Sharpe Community Center in Joliet, traffic school, and another essay.
• 1/27/2016: Matariyeh, now 19, submits documents to Will County Court showing he has completed his community service work and traffic school, and so his third traffic case in Will County (in eight months) is dismissed.
• 2/18/2016: Three weeks later, Hickory Hills police charge Matariyeh with speeding 21-25 miles per hour above the speed limit. The case goes to Cook County Traffic Court.
• 6/7/2016: For the second time in four months, Matariyeh is stopped in Cook County – this time by Palos Park police, who charge him with speeding 15-20 miles per hour above the speed limit, and operating an uninsured motor vehicle.
• 7/18/2016: According to Cook County Traffic Court records – which don’t give much detail about traffic cases – Matariyeh’s Hickory Hills speeding charges are non-suited.
• 8/11/2016: Matariyeh, still 19, is charged for the third time in Cook County – this time in Criminal Court -- with two misdemeanors: Consumption of liquor and obstructing identification.
• 9/12/2016: According to court docket information, Matariyeh’s June speeding charges from Palos Park are non-suited in Cook County Traffic Court.
• 9/19/2016: Seven days later, Matariyeh is cited – his fourth time in Will County– and charged with one count of possession of 100-500 grams of cannabis, and one count of manufacture/delivery of 30-500 grams of cannabis. His bond is set at $25,000.00 and he is released by posting ten percent of that, or $2,500.00.
• 11/14/2016: Both of the misdemeanor charges -- stemming from Matariyeh’s August alcohol arrest in Cook County -- are dropped.
• 11/18/2016: Four days later, Illinois State Police again stop Matariyeh, who is now out on bond from his Will County cannabis arrest. This time he’s cited in DuPage County and charged with speeding 21-25 miles per hour over the limit, and operating an uninsured motor vehicle – a charge that’s quickly dismissed when Matariyeh provides proof of insurance.
• 12/14/2016: Matariyeh – still out on bond for the Will County cannabis charges -- pleads guilty to the November speeding charge in DuPage County. He’s given supervision and is ordered to complete “DIS,” though the printed court record does not explain what “DIS” is.
• 12/20/2016: In his pending Will County cannabis case, Matariyeh submits to a drug test and passes.
• 6/7/2017: Matariyeh, now 20, appears in DuPage County Court to confirm completion of “DIS” from his November, 2016 speeding charge.
• 6/20/2017: Still awaiting trial in his Will County cannabis case, Matariyeh submits to another drug test, and passes once again.
• 8/18/2017: Matariyeh submits to yet another drug test in his Will County criminal cases. Once again, he passes.
• 9/29/2017: In his Will County Criminal court case, Matariyeh pleads guilty to manufacturing/delivery of 30-500 grams of cannabis. The other charge (of possession) is dropped. He is sentenced to six days in jail (with credit for three days served); at least $1,684.00 in fines, and 24 months’ probation – which would mean that Matariyeh would be on probation until next September.
• 4/17/2018: Will County Sheriff’s police stop Matariyeh, now 21 and on probation, and charge him with driving 11-14 miles per hour over the limit. In 3-1/2 years, this is his fifth case in Will County Courts; his fourth in Will County for traffic charges, and his eighth stop for speeding in the greater Chicago area.
• 5/7/2018: Matariyeh pleads guilty to the speeding charge from the previous month in Will County. He’s sentenced to six months’ supervision, $120.00 in fines, and driver education school.
• 6/18/2018: Matariyeh heads back to Will County Court to report that his most recent traffic driver safety program is “successfully completed.”
• 11/7/2018: A note appears in Matariyeh’s April, 2018 speeding case in Will County, saying simply “Court Supervision,” but there are no other details.
• 11/30/2018: Chicago police charge Matariyeh – still on probation -- with driving the wrong way on a one-way street, in a 2019 Infiniti sedan – the same model of car that would later be involved in the fatal crash on I-55. The wrong-way driving case goes to Cook County Traffic Court.
• 1/22/2019: Matariyeh, now 22, pays a $214.00 fine in the wrong-way driving charge in Chicago. There’s also a “return date” of 7/22/2019 listed on the Cook County court record, implying that Matariyeh is required to return to court this coming July – six months after the original disposition.
• 4/28/2019: Matariyeh – still on probation from his cannabis conviction, and due back in court to follow up on a wrong-way driving charge – crashes into a Hyundai sedan on the Stevenson Expressway. Police say Matariyeh is drunk when he crashes and then flees the scene. He is later arrested at his home, and now faces seven felony charges in Cook County Court – including reckless homicide, failure to report and accident, and aggravated DUI.