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Wrong Way DUI Death Case Scheduled for Pre-Trial in January

Nicholas Puccinelli, 20, is charged with aggravated driving under the influence after police said he caused a vehicle crash near Palos that killed an Orland Park man.

Nicholas Puccinelli. Credit: Cook County Sheriff's Office
Nicholas Puccinelli. Credit: Cook County Sheriff's Office

A Burr Ridge man accused of causing the death of an Orland Park man during an early morning Palos-area car crash is getting closer to a trial.

Nicholas Puccinelli, 20, is facing a felony charge after John Anagnopoulos, 64, of Orland Park, died from injuries caused during the accident in March.

A pre-trial hearing date was set for Jan. 23 during a brief hearing Monday in Judge John Hynes’ Bridgeview courtroom. Negotiations are continuing between prosecuting and defense attorneys, but if a deal isn’t met by then, a trial date is expected to be set at the January hearing.

Puccinelli was driving a GMC Denali south on LaGrange Road, when he swerved into the northbound lane near 105th Street and struck Anganopoulos’ Nissan Sentra head on around 3:10 a.m., according to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.

Toxicology tests later revealed Puccinelli had three times the legal blood-alcohol level in his system at the time. He also tested positive for cocaine, marijuana, amphetamines, barbiturates and other drugs, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Anagnopoulos was believed to be on his way to work when he was struck by the Denali.

A crash reconstruction report was turned over to attorneys on the case prior to the last hearing in October.

Puccinelli has pleaded not guilty to the charge, and remains free on $250,000 bail.

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