New date for trial in 5-year-old reckless homicide case

Dixon woman charged in deadly collision with Sterling motorcyclist

MORRISON – The trial of a woman charged with reckless homicide in the death of a Sterling motorcyclist, which was to have begun today, was moved to June 13 – a little over a week past the fifth anniversary of the fatal collision.

Theresa A. Ruf, 47, formerly of Chadwick, now of Dixon, is charged in Whiteside County with reckless homicide and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident in the June 5, 2012, death of Samuel L. Munz, 53.

Ruf, who was driving an SUV, rear-ended Munz in front of his rural Sterling home as he was stopped to make a left turn into his driveway. She is accused of speeding and of being distracted by her cellphone.

Reckless homicide carries 2 to 5 years in prison.

The case was being prosecuted by then-State’s Attorney Trish Joyce, but Joyce was appointed a circuit court judge in December, and so has recused herself. Terry Costello, appointed to replace Joyce, now is overseeing the case.

Ruf was free on a $100,000 recognizance bond, but she was cited May 22 in Sterling for speeding 15 to 20 mph above the limit and driving on a suspended license. She now is free on $25,000 bond.

The Munz family also is suing Ruf for wrongful death. That case, too, has not yet been resolved. A case management hearing is set for July 17.

The suit, filed Aug. 15, 2012, in Whiteside County Court by Munz’s son, Jacob E. Munz, executor of his estate, accuses Ruf of speeding and failing to brake in time. It seeks more than $50,000 in damages for his death, between $10,000 and $50,000 for the damage to his motorcycle, and requests a jury trial.

In her response to the suit, Ruf said Munz failed to exercise due care for his safety.

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