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Lawndale man charged with reckless homicide for deadly crash

Joe McCray, 77, told detectives that he was running late for a mechanic appointment as the reason he was driving more than 60 mph in a 30-mph zone, prosecutors said.

A man died in a four-car crash July 28 at Homan and Ogden avenues on the West Side.
The intersection of Ogden and Homen avenues, where a 77-year-old man crashed into three other vehicles, killing another driver, on July 28 while speeding, Cook County prosecutors said.
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A 77-year-old man told police he was running late for a mechanic appointment when he sped through a red light and slammed his SUV into several cars, killing a man in Lawndale over the summer, Cook County prosecutors said Tuesday.

Joe McCray was allegedly driving more than twice the 30 mph speed limit on the morning of July 28 before he rushed into the intersection of Ogden and Homan avenues and hit the other motorists.

William R. Schaafsma, 58, of southwest suburban Lockport, died from the injuries he suffered when his car was struck by McCray’s SUV, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

A mother and her 12-year-old daughter, who were in another car, required hospitalization due to the crash; a third driver declined medical treatment, Chicago police said.

Analysis of a computer in McCray’s SUV showed his vehicle increased to more than 70 mph seconds before the crash and decelerated to about 50 mph as he applied the brakes immediately before slamming into the first vehicle, prosecutors said.

Joe McCray
Joe McCray
Chicago police

McCray initially declined medical attention following the crash, but was later brought to a hospital after experiencing chest pain, prosecutors said.

McCray, who has diabetes, learned at the hospital that day that he had a brain tumor, his defense attorney said Tuesday.

“When all is said and done in this case, there might be a medical reasoning” behind the crash, the lawyer said.

Judge Mary Marubio said she believed McCray, of Lawndale, wasn’t a flight risk and noted he has been cooperative with authorities.

“However, I’m taking into consideration the serious consequences of this case,” the judge said before ordering McCray held on $50,000 bail for reckless homicide.

McCray is expected back in court Nov. 30.