When 26-year-old Cesar Ramirez, of Woodridge, was killed after being thrown from a Mercury Mountaineer in a rollover crash in Riverside in December 2011, the woman with him at the time of accident said that Ramirez was driving.

On July 7, however, Riverside police arrested that woman, 24-year-old Magali Padilla, of Cicero, and charged her with reckless homicide and aggravated driving under the influence after video surveillance footage from a nearby restaurant reportedly showed her getting into the driver’s side of the vehicle and then driving off at 11:40 p.m., just three minutes before the crash.

At a hearing on Sunday, July 8, Cook County Judge Adam Bourgeois set Padilla’s bond at $350,000. She will likely face indictment by a grand jury.

Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said Monday that his department received the surveillance video from Lalo’s Restaurant on Harlem Avenue in Berwyn within the past two months.

On Dec. 7, 2011, Padilla and Ramirez were at Lalo’s along with some co-workers. At 11:43 p.m. that night, say police, Padilla was behind the wheel of the SUV and reportedly lost control of the vehicle as it rounded a turn from southbound Longcommon Road onto westbound Delaplaine. The vehicle hit the curb and then rolled over at least twice before coming to rest upright on the front lawn of a home.

Ramirez was thrown from the SUV, which apparently rolled over him during the crash. He was pronounced dead at Loyola University Medical Center. Padilla suffered minor injuries and was released from the hospital within a couple of hours.

During police interviews immediately following the crash, Padilla reportedly told police that Ramirez was behind the wheel at the time of the crash. The vehicle was registered to Padilla’s family, police reported.

Padilla and Ramirez worked together at a McDonald’s restaurant in Lombard. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that at Padilla’s bond hearing, prosecutors described Padilla as Ramirez’s girlfriend. At the time of the crash, Ramirez was married to another woman, police said.

After presenting the new evidence to the Cook County State’s Attorney, Weitzel said his department was asked to do a follow-up investigation, re-interviewing fellow employees and the restaurant wait staff and gathering other evidence, such as receipts.

In addition to its own detectives, Riverside was assisted in its investigation by the Illinois State Police Accident Reconstruction Unit.

“Detective Sgt. David Krull and Officer Edwin Ruiz both worked on this investigation for the past seven months and methodically built a case,” said Weitzel. “I am extraordinarily proud of their hard work.”

Riverside police are also seeking a warrant to compel Padilla to submit to a DNA test. Blood evidence was found on both sides of the vehicle’s interior, said Weitzel. After arresting Padilla on July 7, she reportedly refused to talk with police.

However, police did subpoena hospital records from the night of the crash, including a blood test taken from Padilla. According to police, the test showed that her blood-alcohol level was .17, or more than twice the legal limit of .08.

Ramirez’s family has been pushing police to charge Padilla in connection with the crash for months, said Weitzel, but police had to build a strong enough case before doing so.

While police had collected a good deal of evidence, the surveillance video allegedly showing Padilla getting into the driver’s seat of the SUV just minutes before the crash was the turning point.

“[Ramirez’s family] never believed from the beginning that he was driving,” Weitzel said.