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Man Charged With DUI For Fatal Hit-And-Run On I-55

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Car Keys And Beer (CBS/AP Photo)

Car Keys And Beer (CBS/AP Photo)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – A Chicago man has been charged with drunk driving in a hit-and-run that killed another motorist who was waiting for a tow truck while standing on the shoulder of the Stevenson Expressway.

Fernando Almaraz, 40, has been charged with one count of aggravted DUI, according to Illinois State Police. Additional charges might be filed after his first court appearance.

Almaraz, of the 5400 block of South Ellis Avenue, allegedly was behind the wheel of a white pickup truck that struck and killed Enrique Lopez, 32, Thursday night as he was standing on the shoulder of Interstate 55 near Damen Avenue, police said.

Lopez had been driving on the Stevenson and experienced mechanical problems with his vehicle, so he had parked on the right shoulder and stood outside to wait for a tow truck.

Almaraz allegedly was drunk as he was driving along the Stevenson and struck Lopez around 10:15 p.m. Thursday, then fled the scene. Lopez was severely injured in the crash and pronounced dead at 11:34 p.m.

A person who saw Almaraz cross the solid white “fog line” and strike Lopez and leave called 911, and gave a description of the striking vehicle, according to a Chicago police report.

Police found the truck about 15 minutes after the wreck in Chicago in the 5400 block of South Ellis Avenue, police said. When he was stopped, officers detected a “strong odor of alcoholic beverage’’ on his breath, and the man had bloodshot and glassy eyes and his speech was slurred, a police report said.

An open can of Modelo beer with some left inside was found in the vehicle. The motorist submitted to and failed all field sobriety tests given, according to the report. The man was taken into custody and as of 2 a.m. Saturday charges were still pending, according to ISP District Chicago Trooper Ivan Bukaczyk.

An autopsy on Friday confirmed that the victim had died from multiple injuries suffered when a motor vehicle struck him. His death was ruled an accident, according to the medical examiner’s office.

(The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.)

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