A 23-year-old man’s night of drinking turned into a “very tragic accident” when he was drunk behind the wheel, killing one of his passengers after crashing into a concrete barrier on Lake Shore Drive, Cook County prosecutors said Monday.
Emily Garcia, 24, was alert at the scene of Saturday’s crash near 3000 North Lake Shore Drive. But she later died in hospital from her internal injuries, Deputy State Attorney James Murphy said.
Driver Manuel Perez and three of his other passengers were also injured, prosecutors said.
One victim required 13 stitches on her forehead and another fractured her hip. A third passenger said he had a pain in his jaw, Murphy said.
Perez was rushed to hospital with a broken hip and severed lip. His blood alcohol level dropped to 0.200, well above the legal limit of 0.08, Murphy said. Perez has also reportedly tested positive for cocaine.
Before the accident, Perez was drinking in a Cicero bar with two of his colleagues when they and two bartenders decided to leave the establishment. The party of five got into the car with Perez at the wheel, Murphy said. At some point during the ride, they reportedly decided to stop at a liquor store to buy more alcohol.
Perez, who drank a vodka and tequila drink, was accelerating when he crashed into the concrete barrier separating the northbound and southbound lanes, Murphy said.
The three surviving passengers made recorded statements saying Perez was drunk and was driving the vehicle when it crashed, prosecutors said.
“These cases are difficult. It’s a DUI with an accident and obviously a very tragic accident in this case ”, judge Mary Marubio noted. “… The risks in this business are not just leaving the bar and getting into a car with a drunk driver.” He continued to drink after that [and] there is speed.
Perez was sentenced to $ 100,000 bail for impaired driving causing death. While he is able to post bail, he is not allowed to drink alcohol while awaiting trial, Marubio ordered.
Perez is expected to return to court on February 19.