A Berwyn woman has died of injuries she suffered in an alcohol-related crash on Lake Shore Drive in Lakeview over the weekend. Prosecutors on Monday charged the driver of the car she was riding in with her death.
Emely Garcia, 24, was conscious and spoke with first responders at the crash scene but died of internal injuries about three hours later at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, prosecutors said. Three other passengers and the car’s driver were injured.
The driver, Manuel Perez, is charged with aggravated DUI causing death, negligent driving, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, and transporting open alcohol.
Perez and two of his co-workers were drinking at a bar in Cicero with Garcia and another person Friday night, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.
After drinking beers and shots of hard liquor, Perez drove the other four around in a car owned by one of the passengers, according to Murphy. They stopped along the way to get more alcohol and Perez drank a vodka and tequila drink, Murphy said.
At 3:36 a.m. Saturday, the group was traveling southbound in the 3000 block of North Lake Shore Drive when Perez allegedly slammed the car into the concrete center barrier on a curve.
According to Murphy, all three surviving passengers told police that Perez, age 23, was drunk and speeding at the time of the crash.
He said rescue workers had to extracate Perez from the driver’s seat. One of the back seat passengers also had to be cut out of the vehicle, Murphy said.
Garcia was “alert” at the scene, according to Murphy, but her condition worsened at the hospital, and she was pronounced dead at 6:41 a.m., the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said.
Perez, who suffered a broken hip, had a blood alcohol content of .20, about 2.5 times the legal limit, and he tested positive for cocaine, Murphy alleged.
One of the back seat passengers also suffered a broken hip. Another received 13 stitches to close a wound to their forehead.
Perez has no criminal background.
“These cases are difficult,” Judge Marubio said after hearing the state’s allegations, “and obviously [there was] a very tragic accident in this case.”
Marubio ordered Perez held in lieu of $100,000 bail. If he can post the mandatory $10,000 deposit bond, he must refrain from drinking alcohol and wear a “SCRAM bracelet,” Marubio said. SCRAM devices detect alcohol consumption by testing the wearer’s sweat and alert authorities to violations.
Garcia’s Facebook page includes many photos of her two young boys.
A GoFundMe has been established to help cover funeral service fees and burial. The campaign has been verified by GoFundMe, according to a company spokesperson