Worden man sentenced in drunk-driving crash that killed family
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A 19-year-old Worden man has been sentenced to 17 years in prison for a driving while intoxicated crash that claimed the lives of three people in August 2021 in Madison County.
State’s Attorney Tom Haines’ office said in a news release that Blake A. Jones pleaded guilty on Friday to three counts of aggravated driving with a blood-alcohol level 0.08 percent or more resulting in death. Following the plea and sentencing, the court ordered he be transferred to the Illinois Department of Corrections.
John A. Cafazza, 55, his wife Melissa R. Cafazza, 52, and their youngest son, Dominic Cafazza, 12, all of Bethalto, were killed in the Aug. 13 crash near the intersection of Bethalto Road and McCoy Road. All three members of the family were pronounced dead at the scene.
Jones was under the influence at the time and ran a stop sign, causing the crash. All three of the victims were pronounced dead at the scene.
In the release, Haine offered condolences to the Cafazza family. He described John and Melissa Cafazza as “loving parents” and Dominic Cafazza as leaving “a legacy of joy and friendship to all.”
“First and foremost, our prayers and concerns remain with the Cafazza family,” Haine said. “This is a tragedy all around. Drinking and driving destroys lives and wrecks futures. Here, a young man’s reckless choices and blatant disregard for others took three beloved lives at once, and he now faces many years in prison. There are no winners in these types of cases. Nothing can bring the dead back or undo such terrible choices.”
The three surviving Cafazza sons also submitted a victim-impact statement to the court, saying no punishment could possibly make up for their loss.
“We pray that as we turn the page on this process, and begin the next chapter of our lives without them, we are able to find some peace knowing that Mr. Jones has begun serving his sentence for the devastation he has caused our family,” the surviving sons stated.
Two other men are charged with providing Jones with alcohol. David P. Thomae, 56, of Godfrey, and Brandon M. McKinnon, 24, of Jerseyville both are charged with permitting a violation of the Liquor Control Act, resulting in death. Their cases are pending.