H.S. Senior Dies In Collision With DUI Driver

Caitlin Weese was looking forward to so much

POSTED: 4:37 p.m. CDT May 28, 2003 ---

Caitlin Weese had several events to look forward to as she drove home from the Woodfield Shopping Center last Thursday: her graduation, turning 18, a senior boat trip on Lake Michigan and her older sister's upcoming wedding.

Now, her friends and family are mourning the loss of the Larkin senior, who was just days from graduation.

"People are taking it very hard," said Juan Rodriguez, one of Weese's classmates. "Lots of people liked her. She is like popular, like she was like every person that talked to her. So everybody misses her."

Weese was killed Thursday on a strip of Illinois Route 72 after she swerved to avoid a car that crossed the centerline. That car was allegedly driven by 23-year-old James Stitt, who was charged with DUI. Authorities say Stitt is now free after posting a $100 bond.

It was not the first time Stitt has had trouble behind the wheel. He has a history of violations, including DUIs, and apparently the night Weese was killed, Stitt never should have been driving.

In 1997, he was charged with DUI as well as a case of speeding. Stitt was charged with speeding in both 1998 and 2000, and had his license revoked in 2000. In 2001, he faced a DUI charge but pleaded down to reckless driving, again his license was suspended until June of this year.

"I don't know how you control it," said Capt. Mike Anderson of the Kane County Sheriff's Office. "They've arrested him in the past; he gets on probation. They take his driver's license away, and yet he is still driving. Hopefully, this time will be looked at a little harsher and face the full extent of the law.''

At her high school, fellow students had a moment of silence for her this week. And at graduation ceremonies on Saturday, her sister will accept the much-anticipated diploma on her behalf. Meantime, her classmates admit the ceremony will be bittersweet.

"She did graduate, and they're going to give her parents the graduation papers," said Lindsey Hansen, one of Weese's classmates. "But it's really sad. She missed everything that everyone was looking forward to for their senior year.''

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