Driver was speeding, had no headlights, and was drunk on vodka when she killed 2 on Chicago expressway: prosecutors

Clockwise from left: Ashanti Gates, Erik Cox, and Shealyn Sherwood. (Illinois State Police, GoFundMe)

CHICAGO — Prosecutors said that a 21-year-old woman, drunk on vodka and driving 77 mph without headlights, slammed into a stalled car on the Eisenhower Expressway, killing two people who had stopped to fix a flat tire.

Ashanti Gates, 21, had a blood alcohol concentration of .186, more than twice the legal limit, shortly after the crash early Sunday, according to a detention petition. Judge Mary Marubio rejected the petition and released Gates to await trial.

Erik Cox and Shealyn Sherwood, both 18, were heading home from the city when they pulled over to change a tire, officials said. Gates, who had been drinking Tito’s vodka, roared up the highway in her Hyundai Sonata and slammed into their car, which was on the right shoulder, according to prosecutors.

The collision caused the stalled car to strike Cox and Sherwood, killing them. A third person in their vehicle escaped unharmed.

Witnesses, including adults riding in Gates’ car, identified her as the driver. Officials said she admitted to drinking before driving.

She is charged with two counts of felony DUI causing a fatal accident, two counts of reckless homicide, and misdemeanor charges of DUI and child endangerment.

Family members remembered Sherwood as “an absolutely amazing artist, with one of the most creative, unique, funny, and indescribably spectacular minds. The impact she had on so many is unfathomably huge, spreading nothing but love, laughs, and beauty with every footstep she blessed this world with.”

“She made the most of every second she had, and lived more of a fulfilling and fun life than some do in 70 years,” the family continued in a GoFundMe campaign.

Cox, friends said in a separate campaign, was “full of life and had everything going for him. He had graduated from Rolling Meadows High School 2 weeks ago and was preparing to attend Columbia College in the fall to study graphic design.”

“His friend group was larger than anyone I know. Everyone loved Erik.”

About CWBChicago 6796 Articles
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