Driver charged in crash that killed Coal City teen
By Janet Lundquist firstname.lastname@example.org February 4, 2013 7:54AM
Updated: March 6, 2013 6:11AM
Authorities say the teenager who was behind the wheel of a vehicle in a fatal Friday night crash had been drinking.
Matthew Moser, 19, 1580 N. Rollin Lane, Coal City, faces a charge of aggravated driving under the influence. His passenger, Alyssa Nicole Swyndro, 16, of Coal City, was killed in the one-car crash.
“She was an all around good girl,” said Heidi Boyd of Coal City, Swyndro’s aunt. “She was very sweet, would do anything for anybody.”
The crash occurred after 11 p.m. Friday on Whitetie Road, a quarter mile west of Broadway in Felix Township, said Grundy County Sheriff Kevin Callahan.
The vehicle left the road, hit a culvert and rolled into a tree. Swyndro, a junior at Coal City High School, was pronounced dead at the scene, Callahan said.
Callahan said the roads were snow-packed at the time. Swyndro was wearing her seat belt, authorities said.
Apparently Swyndro was along for the ride with Moser, who had driven to town for something and was headed home after his errand when the crash occurred just miles from his home, Callahan said.
Moser has dated Swyndro’s best friend, Boyd said, and the three often were together.
Swyndro’s grandmother, Karen Swyndro, tried to call Alyssa’s cell phone about 11:30 p.m. Friday to see where she was, Boyd said.
“There was no response, which was very unusual because she would always call you back, answer the phone, send a text,” Boyd said. “I think (Karen Swyndro) had kind of that gut feeling ... that something was wrong.”
Moser was taken to Morris Community Hospital with minor injuries and was released.
The Grundy County state’s attorney’s office filed the aggravated DUI charge over the weekend. Moser posted 10 percent of his $150,000 bond and was released from the sheriff’s custody, Callahan said.
A woman who said she was Moser’s mother answered the phone at his residence Monday.
“(Matthew is) very distraught and I don’t want you talking to him,” she said, referring a reporter to Moser’s father, who declined to comment on the situation.
The crash remains under investigation by the Grundy County Sheriff’s Department.
Swyndro was a mature teenager and took on a lot of responsibility for her age, Boyd said.
Both of Swyndro’s parents have passed away — her mother, Aimee Swyndro, died suddenly in August 2007 of a brain aneurysm, and her father, Corey Wilson, in Texas in January 2008.
After her mother died, Swyndro took her two younger sisters under her wing, Boyd said.
Then, when Boyd needed help caring for her own young children, Swyndro stepped up.
“She was kind of like ... their second mom,” Boyd said. “She would babysit them and pick them up from school, take them to (activities). She was like my right-hand man.”
Counselors were available for Swyndro’s classmates Monday, and a good number of students took advantage of the support, said Coal City High School Principal Mitch Hamann.
“Obviously, our thoughts go out to Alyssa’s family,” Hamann said. “A main concern of ours today was putting our students’ needs first.”
Swyndro had just started working afternoons at Subway, 1355 Division St. in Morris, about a week before the crash, and had been doing a fantastic job, said Manager Jose Llanes.
“There’s no words you can say,” Llanes said. “Tomorrow’s never promised. It’s just sad.”
Swyndro’s friends have created a trending hashtag, #WearingPurpleForAlyssa, on Twitter.
Visitation for Swyndro will be from 3 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, followed by a funeral service, at the Coal City United Methodist Church, 6805 E. McArdle Road, Coal City. A private family burial will follow Wednesday in Oakwood Cemetery, Braidwood, where Alyssa will be laid to rest with her mother.