7 Years in Prison for Teen in Fatal Texting and Driving

Joseph Brynda, 20, was high on marijuana and freon when he drove his car into a man walking to the train station in 2009.

A man — who killed a pedestrian as he was doped up on pot and freon and texting while steering his car with his knees — was sentenced to seven years in prison Wednesday.

Joseph Brynda, 20, of Oak Lawn, pleaded guilty to aggravated DUI.

On Nov. 9, 2009, Brynda’s 2008 Saturn hit the pedestrian, a stoplight and another care at 183rd Street and 80th Avenue in Tinley Park.

A witness in the car told the young man was texting as he drove and "driving with his knees."

Philip Rangel, 60, of Blue Island, was killed. He was walking to the 80th Avenue Metra station to catch a ride home from work.

Sun-Times Media reported on his prior criminal record:

Will County court records show that before the crash, Brynda, who had a Frankfort Square address at the time, had been cited eight times for driving offenses including speeding, disobeying traffic signals and failing to yield to emergency vehicles. He also was involved in at least one accident with injuries, according to the Illinois secretary of state’s office.

Brynda also was charged in 2008 with drinking alcohol as a minor, and in 2009 was charged with possession of marijuana and drug equipment, records show.

At the time of the accident, Brynda was 18 and living in Frankfort Square.

On Nov. 13, 2010, Brynda, then 19, was arrested and charged with felony burglary from a car. said .

After that arrest, a judge revoked his bail.

Deb Melchert December 09, 2011 at 04:24 AM
Nick, the case you refer to was when Lora Hunt was painting her nails and hit and killed Anita Zaske. She did get jail time, but they may have well have let her walk out a free woman. She was sentenced to 18 months, but is allowed out during the day "for work, counseling and community service". And they let her out on Sunday for church services. As a motorcycle rider, I followed the case. Hunt was back in the news a short time ago as she requested to be allowed to attend her own church in Morris AND to be allowed home for the holidays. I can't believe the nerve of the woman. Anita's family will never spend another holiday with her, but Lora thinks she deserves more freedom than she's already been given. The judge at least had enough sense to deny the holidays and tell her she could go to the church across the street from the jail. But again, she spends so little time in a cell, what was the point of putting her in jail at all? She should be behind bars for years, not a few hours a day for 18 months. What a farce.
Deb Melchert December 09, 2011 at 04:25 AM
Can someone check and see if I am correct when I recall that this was the same kid who threatened to kill the passengers that were with him if they testified against him? If he is, what happened to those charges?
Russ December 09, 2011 at 05:38 AM
besides did you read his prior record?
Disgusted December 16, 2011 at 04:25 PM
7 years? Did they base his sentence on actuarial tables and assumed that the victim only had 7 years left to live? This "kid" deserves 25 to life for reckless homicide AND the aggravated DUI.
D Greg April 20, 2012 at 02:27 PM
He's gonna come out a hardened criminal.


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