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Driver in deadly West Side crash charged with reckless homicide

Cook County Judge Susana L. Ortiz ordered Damion Laird held on $50,000 bail for his alleged role in Friday’s deadly crash at Laramie Avenue and Jackson Boulevard.

A man was charged in connection with a shooting from April 12, 2021, in West Chicago.
A 29-year-old man was charged with reckless homicide for his alleged involvement in a crash that killed another motorist on the West Side last week.
Adobe Stock Photo

A 29-year-old man was charged with reckless homicide for his alleged involvement in a crash that killed another motorist on the West Side last week.

Damion Laird accelerated through a red light and T-boned James Wells’ 2007 Toyota Camry at the intersection of Laramie Avenue and Jackson Boulevard Friday, Cook County prosecutors said.

The impact on the driver’s side caused Wells’ sedan to spin through the intersection before it hit a pole, throwing Wells through the back seat, where officers found him hanging partly out of the rear window, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said Monday.

Wells, 31, was taken to Stroger Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Laird refused medical treatment at the scene of the accident, but he consented to a DUI kit at Loretto Hospital, Murphy said. Those results are pending.

Laird admitted to Chicago police that he was behind the wheel at the time of the crash and that he had two to three shots of D’usse Cognac Brandy earlier in the evening, Murphy said.

Laird, a high school graduate, had been working full time at US Foods for over a year and had cared for an elderly relative who recently died, his attorney said. He has a 3-year-old son and is engaged to be married to his fiancée, who he’s been dating for eight years.

“This is a tragic accident, and accidents do happen,” Laird’s attorney said.

Judge Susana L. Ortiz ordered Laird held on $50,000 bail. If he is able to post bond, Ortiz recommended he be placed on electronic monitoring. The judge also barred Laird from consuming alcohol and other intoxicating or illegal substances.

Laird is expected back in court Oct. 2.