14 years for driver who killed woman while speeding away from Chicago police in a stolen SUV

Juan Vazquez and Dominga Flores (Illinois Department of Corrections, Wolniak Funeral Home)

CHICAGO — The man who collided with another vehicle while fleeing from Chicago police in a freshly hijacked SUV, killing a 55-year-old grandmother, has been given a 14-year prison sentence.

Juan Vazquez, 18, was awaiting trial in juvenile court for a felony gun case when the crash occurred in September 2022. One of his passengers was on parole, on bail for a felony gun case, and had three active warrants. His other two passengers, both juveniles, are charged with having guns in the wrecked SUV.

The Honda HR-V that Vazquez and his friends were riding in had been carjacked about 90 minutes earlier in the 3400 block of South Claremont, prosecutors said, but no one in the vehicle was ever charged with hijacking it.

The SUV was traveling with a white Honda Civic that was also newly carjacked when Chicago police spotted the vehicles in traffic. The cops tried to pull them over after the HR-V, driven by Vazquez, ran a stop sign.

But Vazquez sped away from the cops, whose lights and siren were activated, and led them on an 11-mile chase at speeds of up to 95 mph on the city’s Southwest Side, prosecutors said. He sped on the wrong side of the road, ran at least three red lights, and nearly hit a pedestrian who was walking a dog, according to officials.

The cops slowed down on 31st Street, and the HR-V was a block ahead of them when it ran a red light and collided with Flores’ car at Kedzie Avenue. Flores, a 55-year-old mother of five with eight grandchildren, was the sole occupant of her vehicle.

Police apprehended Vazquez after he fled the scene, according to prosecutors.

He initially faced murder charges for Flores’ death, but he ultimately pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of reckless homicide, according to court records. Judge Maria Kuriakos-Ciesil handed him the 14-year sentence.

The term will be reduced by 50% for good behavior, giving him an anticipated parole date of September 19, 2029.

One of his backseat passengers was on parole for felony theft at the time of the crash. He was charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass to a vehicle, but prosecutors dropped the case less than a month later. Prosecutors said he was on bail for a felony gun charge in Chicago and had three outstanding warrants.

A 15-year-old boy who was in the car was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and criminal trespass to a vehicle. The fourth occupant, a 17-year-old boy, was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, possessing a stolen vehicle, and two misdemeanors. The outcomes of those cases are not available because they were filed in juvenile court.

About Tim Hecke 332 Articles
Tim Hecke is CWBChicago's managing partner. He started his career at KMOX, the legendary news radio station in St. Louis. From there, he moved on to work at stations in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Tim went on to build syndicated radio news and content services that served every one of America's 100 largest radio markets. He became CWBChicago's managing partner in 2019. His email address is tim@cwbchicago.com