DUI driver responsible for crash that killed his back seat passenger gets probation

James Camacho, left, was killed in the crash at Broadway and Hollywood and Steven Martinez, right, pleaded guilty to DUI causing death this month.. A truck is seen removing two cars from the crash scene. (Facebook; @CPD2024Scanner; Chicago Police Department)

CHICAGO — An Indiana man has been sentenced to probation for crashing his car in Edgewater while driving under the influence, killing a passenger who was riding with him. Steven Martinez, Jr., 21, pleaded guilty to aggravated DUI causing death, the most serious charge he faced, before Judge Tyria Walton this month.

Martinez’s blood alcohol level was .138 as he drove 62 mph through a red light at Broadway and Hollywood just before midnight on July 21, 2022, prosecutors claimed.

His car clipped another vehicle in the intersection, and the impact spun Martinez’s car around. Prosecutors said that Martinez’s car continued to travel up Broadway in reverse until it collided with a parked car, totaling it.

The second crash crushed the back end of Martinez’s vehicle, including the back seat, where 20-year-old James Camacho was seated. Camacho died instantly.

Chicago police officers allegedly found Martinez unconscious in the driver’s seat. While the officers tried to help Camacho, Martinez regained consciousness and kept trying to start the car, officials said. When that failed, he allegedly stepped out of the wreckage and tried to run away. Two cops and a paramedic caught him.

A 25-year-old in Martinez’s front passenger seat and the driver of the vehicle that Martinez clipped were treated for minor injuries and released.

Martinez was initially charged only with misdemeanors, but prosecutors filed multiple felony counts three months later.

Judge Walton sentenced Martinez to 30 months of probation after he entered his plea and ordered him to perform 480 hours of community service, according to court records. 

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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