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Driver in fatal Lawndale crash waited for ambulance, went to friend’s home, then turned herself in: prosecutors

Dereknesha Brown was charged with aggravated DUI. She registered .12 BAC after fatal collision, authorities said.

Photo of Dereknesha Brown, charged in a fatal hit-in-run in Lawndale.
Dereknesha Brown said that after hitting pedestrian Annie Johnson, she called 911 and left after an ambulance arrived. Johnson, a 51-year-old mother of 8, was killed in the crash.
Chicago police

The driver in a deadly drunk driving crash made a “tragic mistake” by getting behind the wheel Saturday morning, but also called 911 and waited for an ambulance after hitting 51-year-old Annie Johnson in Lawndale, authorities said Monday.

About 1:30 a.m. — roughly a half hour after running into Johnson as she crossed the street in the 1600 block of South Homan Avenue — Dereknesha Brown walked to the Ogden District police district and confessed to drinking before driving, Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney James Murphy said during Brown’s bond hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse.

Brown’s blood-alcohol level was .121, Murphy said. The legal limit is 0.08

Brown let out a soft sob as Murphy described how she had parked her black Chevrolet Cruze a few feet away from the wreck and waited until an ambulance arrived, then walked to a friend’s house, changed clothes, then went to police station and turned herself in.

Assistant Public Defender Gina Piemonte, said that Brown called for the ambulance.

Brown was expected to be released after posting 10% percent of her $10,000 bail on a charges of aggravated driving under the influence and leaving the scene of the accident — since it is alleged that she left before responding officers arrived.

“What we have here is a tragedy, that could have been avoided, because people drink and get behind the wheel,” Judge Arthur Wesley Willis said, explaining the relatively low bond amount based on Brown’s lack of a criminal record and her cooperation with police. “Do not think that I am not aware of the loss of life that occurred.”

Brown’s father, Lawndale community activist Derek Brown, said that he hoped to connect with Johnson’s relatives in the wake of her death. Dereknesha Brown worked as a security guard and tutored at-risk children in a program run by her father. Derek Brown, who was joined by 10 family members in the courtroom gallery for Monday’s hearing, said he was pained by early media reports that described the crash as a hit-and-run.

“[Dereknesha] is a young lady, and young people do make mistakes,” Derek Brown said. “I want [Johnson’s] family to know that she and her family are very apologetic.

“I care about [Lawndale] more than anybody, and I know my daughter cares.”