Cops suspect DUI in Riverside crash that injured two

Parolee allegedly ran red lights before slamming into SUV on First Avenue

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By Bob Uphues


A suspected drunken driver who reportedly blew several red lights as he sped south on First Avenue on the night of May 17 remains hospitalized after crashing his 2016 Kia into an SUV backing out of a driveway near Ridgewood Road.

Police haven't identified the driver of the Kia, who was not wearing a seatbelt and suffered broken bones and injuries to his shoulder, knee and face, since he hasn't been charged yet.

However, Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said he expects to charge the 24-year-old LaGrange man with driving under the influence and other offenses after he is released into police custody. When that might happen is unclear, said Weitzel, since the man was so seriously injured.

Weitzel also indicated that the driver of the Kia was on parole for a 2014 drug possession conviction at the time of the crash. He also has been arrested in the past for driving under the influence, said Weitzel, though the man possessed a valid driver's license.

Riverside police have sought a parole violation warrant from the Illinois Department of Corrections, but that agency has refused to issue a warrant at this time, Weitzel said.

The driver of the SUV, a 66-year-old Riverside woman, suffered head and leg injuries, but was released from the hospital after receiving treatment that night, Weitzel said.

According to Weitzel, witnesses claimed the driver of the Kia was going up to 90 mph as he traveled southbound from Cermak Road at about 10:25 p.m., blowing through red lights at Golfview Avenue and 31st Street before flying through the Ridgewood Road intersection and slamming into the SUV.

The impact of the crash sent the SUV spinning over the curb and up onto the parkway where it flipped over onto its roof. Firefighters had to extricate the woman, who was hanging upside down inside the vehicle by her seatbelt.

"Her seatbelt probably saved her life," Weitzel said.

The two-person crew of a private ambulance returning from a call to Loyola University Medical Center witnessed the crash and provided immediate assistance to the injured people, Weitzel said, pulling the driver of the Kia, who had been partially ejected, from the vehicle.

Police reported that the driver of the Kia "displayed obvious signs of intoxication" and was "extremely belligerent" toward paramedics and police, screaming profanities at them and at hospital personnel at Loyola.

Police shut down First Avenue between Ogden Avenue and 31st Street for more than an hour as police investigated the scene and talked to multiple witnesses.


Email: Twitter: @RBLandmark

Reader Comments

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Jolyn Crawford  

Posted: May 23rd, 2017 4:51 PM

he should never be in a driver seat arrest for life!

Tracy Patton  

Posted: May 20th, 2017 11:07 AM

Mark, must everything be political? A) do you know the judges he's been before and their political leanings? Didn't think so. One could easily say the "conservative judges" are too busy putting all the frat boy rapists back out there too. See how that works? This guy never should have been on the road. Chances are not having a license wouldn't have stopped him anyway. The political leanings of a judge likely has nothing to do with it.

George Nemecek from Riverside  

Posted: May 19th, 2017 5:29 PM

When you ain't got nothin', you ain't got nothin' to lose. Insurance is for people that have assets to protect. Nothing else. The notion that people possessing nothing will spend their limited funds on a product only because the state says you must is very stupid and na´ve. Unless we are willing as a society to incarcerate people that repeatedly drive without a license or liability insurance, the entire concept is a scam. Write all the tickets you want on people like this. Good luck getting paid and good luck keeping them from driving. You can't and you won't as seen on these pages nearly every week.

Mark Roegner  

Posted: May 19th, 2017 2:15 PM

Because the liberal judges keep putting these idiots back on the road . And the secretary of state sucks.

Denise McAleer  

Posted: May 19th, 2017 1:17 PM

Kristine, sadly that does not matter. I see MANY accidents involving drivers who have had their licenses long revoked, no insurance, several DUIs,etc and they continue to drive.

Kristine Neumann  

Posted: May 19th, 2017 11:58 AM

I have two questions: Did he have insurance & why did he still have a license?

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