Local

Bond increased for woman charged in cyclist's death

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The woman accused in the hit-and-run killing of a bicyclist is back in jail. Barbara Lee was captured after a manhunt last week, but there's been a battle over the bond set in the case. Thursday, a judge increased Lee's bail to $500,000.

The family of Gordon Kleifield, who died in the crash, was outraged by a lower bond set last week, which Lee was able to post.

A small victory Thursday for the Kleifield family: they did not want the suspect, Barbara Lee, to be free on bond. This past Saturday, her bond was set at $50,000. She posted the $5,000 needed to get out of jail. But, Thursday, thanks to a coordinated effort by Kenosha and DuPage county prosecutors, she is back in custody.

August 16, Kenosha County, Wisconsin: two friends on an evening bike ride. An SUV crashes into them. The driver leaves the scene. Forty-four-year-old Gordon Kleifield dies from his injuries. After a month-long investigation, detectives tracked down the suspect, 41-year-old Barbara Lee from Spring Grove, Illinois.

Police say Lee was hiding at her sister's house in Elmhurst. She is charged with hit-and-run involving death and driving with a revoked license.

Dan Dugan is the other cyclist who was hit.

"My body, every inch is still sore. She knocked me into a tree and threw me 25 yards. And finding my friend dead, I just want the right thing to happen," said Dugan.

This past Saturday, Barbara Lee's bond was set for $50,000. She posted $5,000 and was released from jail. When Dan Dugan and Gordon Kleifield's parents found out about that ruling, they were not happy.

"I was outraged at the $5,000 bail. I thought that was really a miscarriage of justice," said Shirley Kleifield, victim's mother.

Concerned that the judge didn't have all the information about the case, the DuPage County state's attorney's office asked another judge Thursday to increase the bond to an amount they thought was fair. Prosecutors from Wisconsin assisted DuPage County prosecutors.

"I think she's a flight risk because of the seriousness of the offense itself. It's leaving the scene of an accident which someone was killed," said Richard Ginkowski, Kenosha County assistant district attorney.

The judge ruled in favor of the state's attorney and increased bond to $500,000. Lee didn't have 10 percent, or $50,000 cash, to post bond -- so she was taken back into custody.

"But until she's in custody in Kenosha -- I will feel comfortable and I'll start moving forward with my life," said Lee.

Gordon Kleifield's parents say it was difficult to see Barbara Lee in court Thursday.

"I turned around, she had a tear. I said, 'Why are you crying? You killed my son?" said Shirley Kleifield, victim's mother.

Barbara Lee is scheduled to appear in court October 6. After that, proceedings will begin to have her extradited to Wisconsin where she will face charges in the hit-and-run death of Gordon Kleifield.

If convicted, Lee could be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison.

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