Tragedy: Popular drag performer injured in crash dies after surgery; Other driver’s alcohol level was 3x legal limit, cops say

Jherrion Bates, performing as GiGi Mayonaé, and a video grab of the crash scene. | Facebook; Snapchat

Update: An autopsy conducted Monday determined that Bates died from a pulmonary embolism caused by a blood clot that followed the accident.
Jherrion Bates, a popular drag performer who was hospitalized after an allegedly drunk driver struck his car head-on in Boystown this week, died Sunday afternoon, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner. He was 25. The cause of death has not yet been determined.

Bates, who performed in clubs as GiGi Mayonaé, underwent surgery at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center on Saturday morning to repair a broken pelvis.

He returned to Facebook from his hospital bed at 9:45 Sunday morning.

Bates said he was not experiencing as much pain as before and joked, “I’m mad I’m missing Sunday Funday.”

But something happened, and Bates was pronounced dead at 1:50 p.m.

Friends are taking to social media to remember Bates.

Fellow performer Ario Gato wrote, “Rest In Peace Miss Gigi Mayonaé! You were such a kind soul, a supportive sister, and an INCREDIBLE talent. Wish we had more time together. My heart is broken.”

Chicago police listed a home address for Bates in downstate Danville, Illinois. The medical examiner’s office listed a home address in the Woodlawn neighborhood.

Police said 29-year-old Gerrik Birt’s blood-alcohol level was .253—more than three times the legal limit—when he sped south on Halsted Street, swerved into the northbound lanes, and slammed head-on into Bate’s car just south of Addison Street at 2:14 a.m. Thursday.

Gerrik Birt | Cook County Sheriff’s Office

Bates told Facebook friends that he was on the way to Charlie’s nightclub, a venue where he frequently performed, when the other car slammed into him.

Birt was charged Friday with felony DUI causing an accident with bodily harm, two counts of misdemeanor DUI and traffic violations, including failure to have insurance.

Bail for Birt was set at $10,000. He went free on Saturday after posting a 10% deposit bond of $1,000, according to a Cook County sheriff’s spokesperson.

Patrol officers working near Roscoe and Halsted raced to the crash scene after they heard a loud noise and then saw smoke coming from two vehicles. Police said an officer smelled a strong odor of alcohol when they found Birt sitting behind the wheel of his car, which had caught fire. A cop helped him from the car because he was unable to follow directions, police said.

Snapchat video from moments after the crash shows smoke billowing from cars and a lone horn honking at an otherwise eerily quiet scene.

Birt allegedly told officers that he didn’t remember much of the drive. Police said he told them that he was driving from Rogers Park to his Bridgeport home after consuming three ounces of Jack Daniel’s whiskey.

But later, police said, Birt told them he had been drinking Miller beer and only remembered that he drove out of a parking space. He did not recall drinking whiskey or telling police that he consumed Jack Daniel’s, the officers wrote.

An Earlier Case

Court records show that Birt was charged in 2014 with possessing more than a half-pound of pot, driving without insurance, and running a stop sign at 3400 North Sheffield, just a few blocks from Thursday’s crash scene.

He would eventually plead guilty in the 2014 case and receive 18-months probation.

Also charged in that case was his passenger and close friend, Mikal Johnson. Johnson would be murdered less than a year later in Logan Square.

Birt also goes by the name Cody DeCamry.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is