|Gerrik Birt and a view of the crash scene. | Cook County Sheriff; Snapchat|
Prosecutors on Friday upgraded charges against the man who is accused of causing a drunken crash in Boystown that later claimed the life of a popular drag performer.
Jherrion Bates, also known as GiGi Mayonaé, died on July 21st from a pulmonary embolism following surgery to treat a broken pelvis that he suffered in the crash.
Police said Gerrik Birt was southbound on the 3500 block of North Halsted when he swerved around another car at a high rate of speed and collided head-on with Bates’s vehicle around 2 a.m. on July 18th.
Birt, 29, was charged the next day with felony DUI causing an accident with bodily harm, two counts of misdemeanor DUI and traffic violations, including failure to have insurance.
Prosecutors have upgraded the charge to felony aggravated DUI causing death in the wake of Bates’ unexpected passing.
Birt posted a $1,000 deposit bond to go free after the initial charges were filed, but Judge Susana Ortiz on Friday raised his bail by $90,000 in light of the new allegations. Birt will need to post another $9,000 bond to be released.
Police said in Birt’s original arrest report that preliminary test results showed his blood-alcohol level to be .253, more than three times the legal limit.
Bates, 25, seemed to be on the road to recovery before he suddenly died.
“I’m not okay, but I’m here,” he told friends on Facebook hours after the crash. He said he was driving to Charlie’s, a nearby nightclub, when he was struck by a drunk driver.
The night before surgery, Bates asked his followers to bring him a back scratcher: “My legs itch like crazy!” Asked what time visiting hours ended, Bates joked, “I think 10, but I’ve already let them know most of my friends are drag queens and it would be late!”
Bates returned to Facebook the morning after his surgery: “I’m awake. Not in so much pain,” he said. “I’m mad I’m missing Sunday Funday.” But his condition took a sudden turn for the worse and Bates was pronounced dead about four hours later.