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Man charged in DUI crash that killed Lawndale woman given $10K bail on birthday

The Leighton criminal courthouse at 26th and California where Judge Mauricio Araujo was assigned until last year when he was accused of sexual harassment. | Sun-Times file photo.

A man charged in a fatal DUI crash over the weekend celebrated his birthday Tuesday with a bail hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse.

Miguel Carmona-Suarez, 23, is charged with a felony count of aggravated DUI causing death and multiple driving violations after he struck 50-year-old Sharnon Newman early Sunday in the Lawndale neighborhood, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Carmona-Suarez, who turned 23 on Tuesday, was ordered held at the Cook County Jail in lieu of posting $1,000 bond, according to court records.

Shortly before 3 a.m., Carmona-Suarez was driving north on Pulaski Road in the left lane near 16th Street as Newman was walking in the 1500 block of South Pulaski, authorities said.

A video surveillance camera recorded the 2006 Honda, which was traveling more than 20 mph over the speed limit, veer into the far-right lane and then back into the left lane, Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Gamboney in court.

Newman is believed to have been walking on the sidewalk when she was struck by the Honda, which caused her body to be thrown into a nearby play lot, Gamboney said. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

An autopsy Monday found she died of multiple injuries in the crash and her death was ruled an accident, the medical examiner’s office said.

Carmona-Suarez crashed into a light pole after striking Newman and was still at the scene when officers arrived, Gamboney said.

Responding officers believed Carmona-Suarez was under the influence of alcohol and cans of Modelo beer were found inside the Honda, Gamboney said.

He submitted to a field sobriety test and was taken into custody after, Gamboney said. About 4:30 a.m., Carmona-Suarez took a breath test that recorded his blood alcohol content at .072. He also submitted to a blood draw less than an hour later, which was tested by Illinois State Police. Testing determined that his blood alcohol level at the time of the crash was between .08 and .108, authorities said.

Carmona-Suarez told officers in a videotaped interview that he drank 4-5 beers between 3 p.m. Saturday and the time of the crash, Gamboney said.

He admitted to being the driver of the Honda, but said he didn’t recall the crash, Gamboney said. He told officers he believed he lost control of the Honda because one of his tires had low pressure.

Judge David Navarro set Carmona-Suarez’s bail at $10,000. His next court date was scheduled for Sept. 4.