Luis Duran

A Cook County prosecutor told a judge last week that Luis Duran, 24, was drunk when he lost control of the Chevy Malibu he was driving at high speed, spinning twice across the center line of First Avenue near Waubansee Road in Riverside before striking another vehicle and killing his front seat passenger, 23-year-old Samantha Nieves, of Summit.

The Malibu’s onboard computer reportedly revealed Duran, a Chicago resident, was driving at 73 mph in the three seconds prior to the crash on April 30 just before 8 p.m. The speed limit along that stretch of First Avenue is 35 mph.

Nieves was the front seat passenger in the Malibu and she had to be extricated from the vehicle by firefighters who cut off the top of the car to reach her. She had sustained severe trauma to the head and was pronounced dead at the scene, the prosecutor told the judge at a May 5 bond hearing at the Maybrook courthouse.

The prosecutor also revealed that Duran’s blood-alcohol content was .148, which is nearly two times the legal limit of .08 and that he also tested positive for THC. He reportedly has never been issued an Illinois driver’s license. His driver’s license from an unspecified state was revoked after being convicted in 2020 for possession of a stolen motor vehicle.

According to Illinois Department of Corrections records, Duran was sentenced to three years in prison for that offense and was paroled on March 14 immediately after being sentenced for having served that time. He previously was convicted of theft and of a drug possession offense.

Riverside police charged Duran with aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs causing death, reckless homicide, reckless driving, driving on a revoked license, speeding more than 35 mph over the limit and other traffic offenses.

The aggravated DUI/death charge is a Class 2 felony, which carries a prison sentence of between three and 14 years, if convicted. Reckless homicide is a Class 3 felony, punishable for between two and five years in prison, if convicted.

Duran remains in custody at Cook County Jail with his bond set at $250,000. He is due back in court on May 20.

After the Malibu spun out across the center line, it was struck by a southbound GMC Acadia. After the crash, Duran reportedly got out of the Malibu and at first claimed he was the passenger.

Duran reportedly told police he had had two shots of cognac and a beer prior to driving. Police also reported recovering an open 40-ounce bottle of malt liquor from the back seat of the Malibu.

The driver of the Acadia and the passenger in that SUV reportedly sustained minor injuries. Duran was transported to Loyola University Medical Center for treatment, where medical personnel collected blood samples to test for the presence of alcohol and drugs.

Riverside police charged Duran after he was discharged from the hospital into their custody.