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Family questions bond for man who was with teen who drowned

EDITOR’S NOTE: Adams County Jail officials said Patterson was transferred to their jail from Sangamon County Jail on Tuesday. He is set to appear in court on Wednesday. 

QUINCY (HERALD-WHIG) — Kaylee Mehochko will be remembered as quiet and loving person. She loved animals, music and hoped to become a pediatric physician.

“She was very soft spoken, very mild mannered,” her uncle Jim May remembered.

Kaylee, 16, drowned Oct. 27 after the car she was driving went into a pond at a Sherman golf course. The passenger in the car, Gage L. Patterson, 20, of Quincy was not supposed to have contact with Kaylee, let alone be in a car with her.

“Because of this guy, she got in some trouble before,” May said

At the time of the crash, Patterson was facing two counts of armed criminal violence, one count of home invasion and two counts of aggravated battery after allegedly beating Kaylee.

Patterson had been held in the Adams County Jail since his July 25 arrest on $500,000 bail, but he was released Sept. 20 when his bail was lowered to $5,000 — or a $500 bond to be released — to allow him to enter residential drug treatment.

Kaylee’s family is questioning how the man charged with beating her in July, reportedly causing a four-day hospital stay, was released from the Adams County Jail on a treatment bond.

“How the hell does this guy get out on $500 bond?” May asked. “And not only that, when my sister went to the hearing for the order of protection, the judge said if he got out that she’d be notified. Nobody notified anyone.”

Adams County State’s Attorney Gary Farha said his office allows treatment bonds to let individuals address addiction.

“We feel terrible. This is not representative of our office in how we handle domestic violence cases,” Farha said. “We did not think that our victim would be at risk at all.”

Farha said Patterson was given a treatment bond after a bed was available in a residential program the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Springfield.

The Salvation Army program is considered one of the stricter programs available for those seeking treatment.

“They released him on a Sunday for a day off or something, which I don’t know how that happens,” Farha said.

The Adams County state’s attorney’s office’s policy for treatment bonds will be changed, Farha said.

“We’re going to contest every treatment bond with violent crime from now on,” Farha said. “It’s just not worth risking that.”

He said the pending criminal cases against Patterson will continue, even after Kaylee’s death.

“There’s other ways to deal with that,” he said. “We’re not dismissing the cases.”

May knows nothing can bring Kaylee back, but he feels there are questions that need to be answered.

“Somebody needs to answer for the failures that happened,” May said.

Patterson is facing a violation of an order of protection charge in Sangamon County. Court records show he posted $300 bond in that case, but jail records show Patterson continues to be held in the Sangamon County Jail.

He is expected to appear Wednesday in Adams County Circuit Court in his pending cases.


By Matt Hopf Herald-Whig


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