Riverside police say the man suspected of being behind the wheel of a car that crashed into a tree on East Burlington Street in June, killing a 20-year-old passenger, was under the influence of drugs at the time of the incident.
Carlos R. Arambula, 19, of Lyons, was charged with aggravated drugged driving causing death and reckless homicide after being arrested by Riverside police on July 24. At a hearing on Thursday at the Maybrook courthouse, a Cook County judge ordered Arambula held without bond. His next court date is July 29.
According to police, blood tests determined that Arambula was under the influence of cannabis and the anxiety medication Xanax when he lost control of his 1998 Lexus in the 100 block of East Burlington Street at about 12:10 a.m. on June 20. The car skidded sideways and struck a tree in the parkway, caving in the driver’s side rear door.
The impact of the crash killed Chicago resident Brandon Cerero, who was a rear seat passenger. Arambula and a front-seat passenger were not seriously hurt.
After the crash, Riverside police obtained blood and urine samples from the driver and submitted them to the University of Illinois at Chicago Analytical Forensic Testing Laboratory after the Illinois State Police Crime Lab informed the department that it would take 90 to 120 days to get toxicology reports back to them.
The UIC lab returned the test results in nine days, said Police Chief Tomas Weitzel. Part of the reason he sought to use a private lab, Weitzel said was “not wanting to make the [victim’s] family wait that long in anguish over whether there was a crime committed.”
In addition, said Weitzel, investigators from the West Suburban Major Crimes Task Force’s major crash unit issued a crash reconstruction report that determined Arambula was driving the Lexus on East Burlington Street behind friends in a 1999 Jaguar. When the vehicles reached the 100 block of East Burlington Street, the Lexus reportedly passed the Jaguar at more than 60 mph at which time Arambula lost control of the car.
The Jaguar and its four occupants were at the scene of the crash when police and paramedics arrived. All of them were interviewed as part of the investigation.
Police said Arambula had never obtained a valid driver’s license and that he’d been charged with driving without a license in Berwyn in January.
“He continued to drive with no license for five months after his arrest in Berwyn until the crash in Riverside which claimed the life of his passenger,” police stated in a press release.
In addition to the criminal charges, police issued Arambula traffic citations, including driving without a license, improper lane usage, driving too fast for conditions and damage to village property.