By Bob Uphues
North Riverside resident Derry Stone, 28, faces felony drunken driving charges after allegedly driving his black 2014 Cadillac CTS4 through the west wall of the home at 2801 Maple Ave. on April 8, severely damaging the home and displacing the family who lives there.
According to Brookfield police, at the time of the crash Stone's driver's license was suspended for an alleged drunken driving offense in LaGrange Park in November 2018. LaGrange Park Police Chief Ed Rompa said that Stone's vehicle left the roadway and struck a school crossing sign near the intersection of 30th Street and Morgan Avenue, about a half block west of Brook Park and St. Louise de Marillac schools.
Stone reportedly was supposed to be confined to house arrest and on electronic monitoring while awaiting trial for that offense. The Brookfield police report of the April 8 incident states Stone was wearing a monitoring bracelet on his ankle at the time he was arrested.
In addition to being charged with aggravated driving under the influence for the April 8 crash, Stone was charged with driving on a suspended license and criminal trespass to a vehicle. Police said Stone's father sought that complaint after his son allegedly took the car without his permission. Police also issued Stone several traffic tickets.
At a hearing at the Maybrook courthouse on April 10, a judge set Stone's bond at $15,000. He reamins in custody at Cook County Jail awaiting an April 24 court date.
In the meantime, homeowner Beatrice Alvarez and her family are still trying to process and cope with the fallout from the crash, which is likely to keep them out of their home for at least the next six months.
"Friends have been reaching out and I'm a little overwhelmed with their generosity," Alvarez said. "I'm learning to say yes. I'm emotionally touched by this."
A GoFundMe account has been created to help the family, which includes Alvarez's 13-year-old son, Eli, and her parents who lived with her in the Maple Avenue home. Less than a day after the account being established on April 10, a little more than $4,500 had been raised of the $5,000 goal.
Alvarez, a single, working mom, said the family of four is staying in a hotel in Oak Brook, though she had to fight with the insurance company to get two rooms instead of being squeezed into one.
The displacement, however, has resulted in the loss of school bus service for Eli, an S.E. Gross Middle School seventh-grader who has Down syndrome and has been recently diagnosed with autism.
"So we have to account for that," Alvarez said.
Brookfield-LaGrange Park School District 95 Superintendent Mark Kuzniewski said the loss of the bus service is temporary, likely a matter of days.
"Our understanding is that the family is going to be placed in a rental property in the district, at which time bus service would be reinstated," Kuzniewski said.
Stone's vehicle struck the house with so much force that penetrated halfway into the home, entering both the dining room and kitchen, which Alvarez had fully remodeled just two years ago.
"The kitchen is completely destroyed," Alvarez said. "I put a lot of love and care into that house."
Alvarez continues to meet with the insurance company and village inspectors to determine what's next for repairing the house. While she has homeowner's insurance, Alvarez said she's concerned that the insurance company will leave her with a large bill to cover when it's all said and done.
"The more I talk to the insurance company, the more I'm concerned," Alvarez said. "It looks like there will be a lot coming out of pocket for me."
Alvarez, however, is thankful no family members were physically hurt as a result of the crash, though her son and parents were all home at the time. Her son was upstairs while her parents were in a family room on the east side of the house at the time.
And, contrary to initial reports, the family's 13-year-old Amazon parrot, Kiwi, was not injured even though his cage was destroyed by the impact of the crash. The family keeps Kiwi's cage door open at all times and he apparently was able to fly the coop to avoid injury. He was found under the dining room table, Alvarez said.
"He was just shaken up," she said, adding that Kiwi is being taken care of by a friend. "He's totally fine."