A St. Olaf College student-athlete was speeding in the wrong lane on a Chicago street last weekend, when he crashed into and killed a driver trying to flee police, prosecutors say.
Kendall Sprouts, 18, a freshman wide receiver on the football team, was charged with reckless homicide in the multivehicle collision that killed Keyshawn J. Gray, 22, on Nov. 20 on S. Michigan Avenue. Sprouts and four other people were injured.
He was booked into jail in lieu of $20,000 bail on the night of the collision, posted bond and was released. Sprouts was scheduled to appear in court Dec. 12.
Defense attorney Donna Rotunno said Friday that the crash "was an unfortunate accident. There is nothing in [Sprouts'] life that points to bad behavior."
Sprouts' St. Olaf football online biography says the physics major at the private college in Northfield played four seasons at Chicago's Morgan Park High School, where he made all-conference. He also was a member of the National Honor Society.
According to an account of the crash that prosecutors submitted for a bond hearing Wednesday:
Police had stopped Gray's car on southbound Michigan Avenue in the South Loop shortly before 8 p.m. As officers approached the vehicle, he made a U-turn and cut in front of a northbound SUV.
At the same moment, Sprouts was driving at 75 mph in a 30-mph zone on southbound Michigan Avenue when he crossed into the wrong lane in an attempt to pass the stopped police vehicle. He narrowly missed an officer on foot and struck Gray's fleeing vehicle.
Sprouts also hit the SUV and several parked vehicles. Gray's car came to rest on its passenger side; Sprouts' car and the SUV were severely damaged.
Gray, who lived nearby in Broadview, was taken to Northwestern Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His front-seat passenger, an 18-year-old woman, was hospitalized with broken ribs, a fractured jaw and bleeding on the brain.
Sprouts, a back-seat passenger in Gray's car and three people in the SUV suffered minor injuries.
A test at the hospital determined that Sprouts was not under the influence of alcohol.