11 years after controversial release from jail, suspect back in custody for allegedly dragging and killing man while driving drunk

Immigration officials had asked that Saul Chavez be detained for possible deportation hearings, but he was released from jail after his family posted bond.

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William “Denny” McCann was killed by a suspected drunk driver in Logan Square in June 2011.

Brian Jackson, Sun-Times Media

Eleven years after he became a flashpoint for Cook County’s immigration policies, Saul Chavez has been extradited from Mexico to face charges that he struck and killed a man while driving drunk, dragging him nearly 300 feet.

Chavez ran off after hitting William “Denny” McCann, 66, in Logan Square in June 2011 but he was caught by an off-duty Chicago police officer, authorities said. Chavez was charged with reckless homicide and aggravated DUI.

In the days after his arrest, immigration officials issued a so-called detainer for him, asking that the jail notify them when Chavez posted bond and then detain him up to 48 hours so federal agents could pick him up for possible deportation proceedings.

But county commissioners had recently passed an ordinance instructing the jail to ignore such detainers, describing them as requests and not arrest warrants, as a federal court had ruled earlier in the year.

In November, Chavez’s family posted the required 10% of his $250,000 bail and he was released. Chavez failed to show up for any of his subsequent hearings and an arrest warrant was issued on Nov. 28.

Because he was born in Michoacán, Mexico, a federal warrant was also issued for his arrest and the FBI distributed wanted posters. On Dec. 9 of this year, Chavez was extradited from Mexico to the United States, according to court records.

He appeared in a Cook County courtroom earlier this week and is scheduled for another hearing Dec. 21.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle came under attack for the county’s policy after Chavez fled. But she insisted the issue was that Chavez’s bond had been set too low, especially since he had a felony drunken driving conviction on his record already.

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