ILLINOIS: James Comp sentenced to ten years in prison for killing Sara Barnett in 2014 cocaine & booze DUI crash


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Macon County State’s Attorney Jay Scott announced on May 16, 2016, that James Comp, 26 of Decatur, has been sentenced to 10 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for Aggravated Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol which resulted in the death of Sara J. Barnett.


Comp entered a plea of guilty to the charge on February 29, 2016, and was sentenced by Associate Judge Jeffrey Geisler on May 5. Comp will have to serve 85% of the sentence before he is eligible for parole.

Scott, who prosecuted the case with Assistant State’s Attorney Diane Couri, requested a sentence of 12 years.
On July 26, 2014, Comp was the driver of a vehicle on East Wood Street in Decatur which spun out of control and struck a tree.

Accident reconstruction determined that the minimum speed of the vehicle ranged from 51-66 miles per hour.

Barnett and another female passenger, who suffered serious injuries, were ejected from the vehicle. Comp’s blood-alcohol level was determined to be .139, nearly twice the legal limit. He also had cocaine and cannabis in his system.

Decatur Police fatal crash investigation team

When interviewed after the crash Comp denied being the driver of the vehicle.

Comp has previous convictions for Aggravated DUI and Unlawful Possession of Controlled Substance in 2011.

He also entered a plea of guilty on February 29 to another Aggravated DUI stemming from a traffic stop by Decatur Police on February 28, 2014. For that crime Comp was sentenced to 1 year in prison to be served consecutive to the 10-year sentence.

“The end result of this case wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of the officers of the Decatur Police Department, especially those of the Fatal Accident Investigation Team,” Scott said. “Their investigation provided conclusive evidence that Comp was the driver of the vehicle. Combined with valuable information provided by the civilians who stepped forward, it allowed us to remove a safety threat from our community and to bring justice to Sara’s family and to the other victim.”​