A 23-year-old man’s night of drinking turned into a “very tragic accident” when he got behind the wheel while intoxicated, killing one of his passengers after he slammed into a concrete barrier on Lake Shore Drive, Cook County prosecutors said Monday.
Emily Garcia, 24, was alert at the scene of Saturday’s crash near 3000 North Lake Shore Drive. But she later died at the hospital from her internal injuries, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.
Driver Manuel Perez and three of his other passengers were also injured, prosecutors said.
One victim needed 13 stitches in her forehead and another had a fractured hip. A third passenger reported having jaw pain, Murphy said.
Perez was taken to the hospital with a broken hip and cut lip. His blood-alcohol level came back at .200 — well over the legal limit of 0.08, Murphy said. Perez also allegedly tested positive for cocaine.
Before the crash, Perez was drinking at a Cicero bar with two of his co-workers when they and two bartenders decided to leave the establishment. The group of five got into the car with Perez behind the wheel, Murphy said. Sometime during the drive, they allegedly decided to stop at a liquor store to pick up more booze.
Perez, who drank a vodka and tequila drink, was speeding when he crashed into the concrete barrier separating the northbound and southbound lanes, Murphy said.
All three surviving passengers gave recorded statements saying Perez was drunk and driving the vehicle when it crashed, prosecutors said.
“These cases are difficult. They’re a DUI with an accident and obviously a very tragic accident in this case,” Judge Mary Marubio said. “... The risks being taken in this case aren’t simply leaving the bar and getting into a car with an intoxicated driver. There’s continued drinking after that [and] there’s speeding.”
Perez was ordered held on $100,000 bail for aggravated driving under the influence causing death. If he is able to post bond, he is not allowed to drink alcohol while he awaits trial, Marubio ordered.
Perez is expected back in court Feb. 19.