A motorist was ordered held without bond Wednesday for allegedly causing a fiery crash on the Near West Side that killed three people, including his sister.
Deanton Thompson, 24, limped slowly into court Wednesday for his bond hearing where he faced three counts of reckless homicide and four counts of leaving the scene of an accident.
Killed in Sunday’s crash were Thompson’s sister, Deseanell Thompson, 25; Damon Patterson, 27; and Jaron Patterson, all of whom suffered multiple injuries when they became trapped in the backseat of a Chevrolet Malibu when it caught fire, according to Cook County prosecutors.
Thompson and another woman, who prosecutors said was a witness in the case, were able to get out of the front seats, prosecutors said. The woman suffered two broken vertebra and will require future surgery.
Thompson and the woman who survived had been drinking earlier in the night before Thompson got behind the wheel of his sister’s car to drive the group to a party, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.
After exiting the Eisenhower Expressway onto Sacramento Avenue at a “high rate of speed,” Thompson blew through an intersection, swerving into the opposite lane as other vehicles began to slow for a traffic light change, Murphy said. He then allegedly struck three parked cars in the 2800 block of Congress Parkway. A few drivers who witnessed that crash then attempted to follow Thompson.
About 6 p.m., Thompson drove east on Harrison Street through a red light at Oakley Boulevard and was struck by a black Mitsubishi SUV that had the right of way, officials said. The crash sent the car Thompson was driving spinning into a streetlight pole, which fell on top of the car.
Murphy said information from the car’s airbag control module showed that the Malibu’s brakes were never applied as Thompson sped into the intersection, going 53 mph in a 30-mph zone just before the crash.
Sparks from the streetlight caused the Malibu to catch fire, Murphy said. A witness told authorities that they heard a woman yelling for help from the back seat as Thompson and others tried to get the backseat passengers out.
When officers arrived, Thompson and his front-seat passenger began to run, but were pointed out by witnesses on the scene, Murphy said. Thompson first denied being in the car and then later told investigators he “might” have been in the car, Murphy said.
A blood draw at a hospital revealed Thompson’s blood alcohol concentration was 0.075 — below the 0.08 legal limit, Murphy said.
Thompson’s defense attorney, Steven Fine, said his client had several children and graduated high school with honors. Fine said Thompson was hoping he would be able to attend a memorial service for his sister over the weekend.
Fine also suggested during the hearing that another car other than the Mitsubishi SUV may have been involved in the crash, causing Thompson’s car to be pushed into the intersection.
Thompson’s family declined to comment after the hearing.
In denying bond, Judge Susana Ortiz cited Thompson’s history of failing to appear for court hearings, as well as the fact that he was on probation for a 2018 drug case at the time of the crash.
“I find he is a clear and present danger,” Ortiz said.
Thompson’s next court date in the case was set for July 15.