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Details of road rage incident, aftermath reviewed in trial of Lemont man charged with second-degree murder

Published: Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014 9:43 p.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:49 p.m. CST

JOLIET — The Lemont man facing a second-degree murder charge after a 2011 road rage incident in Romeoville first told police his wife was driving their vehicle.

The jury was not in the courtroom Thursday when Judge Sarah Jones had Assistant Will County State's Attorney Peter Wilkes confirm Christopher Yeoman told investigators during all subsequent interviews that he was behind the wheel on 135th Street near Route 53 that afternoon.

About 4:30 p.m. June 2 Yeoman, his wife Amanda and their three children were heading west behind a red Solara driven by Frank Egas, then-63. After the adults got out of their cars to confront each other, witnesses said Christopher Yeoman punched Egas in the head, knocking him to the ground.

Prosecutors say the impact caused brain injuries that led to Egas' death three months later. Jones and the lawyers clarified on the court record Thursday that Egas turned 64 before his death Sept. 29.

Romeoville traffic officer Ryan McClellan testified he arrived at the intersection to find Egas "hunched over" in his car before paramedics arrived. After taking photos of Egas in the ambulance, McClellan was sent to Yeoman's house after a witness provided a license plate that matched to that address.

McClellan testified Amanda Yeoman answered the door and said she had dropped her husband off at his grandmother's house a few blocks away. McClellan and a Lemont police officer went there to find Christopher Yeoman in the backyard, questioned him and took him into custody.

Jurors were removed after defense attorney Cliff Johnson asked McClellan under cross examination what Yeoman said during the backyard interview. Wilkes objected on the grounds of hearsay since he had been "very careful" to avoid the context of the conversation, Jones agreed.

According to Johnson, McClellan's report said Christopher Yeoman said Amanda was driving and honked the horn when Egas didn't move after the light at New Avenue turned green and Egas responded by giving them the middle finger.

Egas then drove in the middle of both lanes to keep the Yeomans' van from passing him before they reached Route 53 and got out of their vehicles, Christopher Yeoman reportedly told McClellan.

"[Egas] started to walk toward him and put his arms up like he would push him [so Yeoman] punched him one time," Johnson said.

Dr. Jan Leetsma also testified Thursday as an expert witness. While listing credentials from his 49-year medical career, Leetsma acknowledged writing the top-selling textbook on forensic neuropathology.

Leetsma said nothing he found examining Egas' brain showed the two surgeries he underwent after striking his head on the ground played a role in his death and he died from complications of brain trauma.

Johnson noted Egas' condition worsened after he fell at a rehabilitation center in mid-June, but nursing reports say he landed on his backside and did not complain of any discomfort to the staff. Leetsma said nothing in that report changed his judgment of Egas' injuries.

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