Driver was going 75 mph in wrong lane when he hit car fleeing police in South Loop, prosecutors say

Kendall Sprouts, 18, charged with reckless homicide, hit a driver making a U-turn in the 1400 block of South Michigan Avenue as that driver fled police last weekend, police said.

SHARE Driver was going 75 mph in wrong lane when he hit car fleeing police in South Loop, prosecutors say
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A driver charged with reckless homicide was traveling 75 mph in the wrong lane when he crashed into a car that was trying to elude police last weekend in the South Loop, Cook County prosecutors said Wednesday.

Kendall Sprouts, 18, collided about 8 p.m. Sunday with a Hyundai Sonata that was making a U-turn in the 1400 block of South Michigan Avenue, prosecutors said during Sprouts’ initial hearing.

The driver of the Hyundai, Keyshawn Javon Gray, 22, had been pulled over by police but then took off, Chicago police and prosecutors said. As he tried turning around on the block, he was broadsided by the Infiniti G37 that Sprouts was driving, according to traffic reports and video of the collision.

Three other vehicles were struck after the initial impact, including two parked cars and a Jeep Compass driven by a 32-year-old woman that had two teenage passengers, authorities said. 

The video shows that Gray began pulling into the opposite lane as Sprouts barreled toward the Jeep, apparently blocking the SUV from being struck directly.

The Hyundai flipped over, and Gray was rushed to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, officials said. An 18-year-old passenger in the Hyundai was taken to the hospital in fair condition. A third passenger, a 21-year-old man, was taken to Stroger Hospital in fair condition.

Sprouts, who was recorded stepping out of the driver’s seat on the Infiniti by a police officer’s body-worn camera, was taken to Stroger in fair condition, along with the driver of the Jeep and her passengers, a 14-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl, according to police and the report.

Just before the crash, Sprouts narrowly missed striking an officer who had stepped out of a patrol car to approach the Hyundai for the traffic stop, prosecutors added. 

Sprouts was charged with reckless homicide and aggravated reckless driving and was cited for failure to reduce speed. His bail was set at $20,000.

Sprouts is a former wide receiver for Morgan Park High School’s football team and is enrolled at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, where he plays football, according to his defense attorney, Donna Rotunno, whose previous clients include Harvey Weinstein. 

Rotunno noted Sprouts’ lack of a criminal background and said her client didn’t drink, take drugs or even have tattoos, and told Judge Kelly McCarthy that “he’s not a flight risk; there is absolutely no reason to keep him in custody.”

“This is a horrifyingly sad situation,” Rotunno added. “But judge, I think what’s missing from the state’s proffer is the car that is pulling away from police is fleeing police.”

McCarthy said Sprouts would need to post $2,000 to be released and ordered him to have no contact with anyone involved in the crash. The judge also allowed him to continue to attend school in Minnesota. His next court date was set for Dec. 12. 

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