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Speeding motorist hit hydrant at 80mph, killed passenger, prosecutors say

A south suburban man who crashed a speeding vehicle with so much force that his passenger was killed and the engine block ripped free from the wreckage was ordered held without bail Sunday.

Chiron A. Betts Jr., of the 11400 block of South Yale, was still recovering at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn and did not appear in Cook County court.

But Judge Peggy Chiampas ordered him held without bail nonetheless.

Prosecutors alleged Betts was driving in excess of 80 mph on a Markham street when he drove through a partially flooded section of Park, near 162nd.

He lost control of his vehicle and crossed over oncoming lanes. The vehicle then struck a fire hydrant and a tree before coming to rest in a nearby grassy area.

First responders found Betts conscious in the car, Assistant State’s Attorney Britt Steinberg said.

His passenger, Jacqueline White, was slumped over in the front passenger seat, Steinberg said.

Fire fighters extracted the two from the vehicle but White died at the scene, prosecutors said.

Steinberg said the vehicle’s engine was ripped free and lay in the roadway when first responders arrived.

Betts is charged with a felony count of reckless homicide.