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Wrongful Death Suit Filed In South Side Crash

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CHICAGO (STMW)– The family of a man killed in an alleged drunken driving crash in January filed a wrongful death lawsuit Wednesday against the driver accused of causing the crash.

The suit claims motorist Leo Stevens was killed, and passengers Michelle Johns and Sabrina Stevens were injured, in a Jan. 23, crash on Cicero Avenue in Burbank when their southbound 1999 GMC Yukon was struck by a 2004 Ford Expedition traveling north in the southbound lanes, according to a suit filed in Cook County Circuit Court.

The driver of the Expedition, Francisco Chaidez, 38, of the 7700 block of South Keating Avenue, was charged with two counts of aggravated DUI for the crash at 8500 S. Cicero Ave. in Burbank, police said.

Stevens, 38, of 2338 N. Central Ave., died Jan. 23 at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.

Police said a 36-year-old woman and 15-year-old girl inside the Yukon were also taken to Christ Medical Center.

Prosecutors said Chaidez first went to Tailgator’s Sports Bar at 9300 S. Cicero Ave. in Oak Lawn to watch the Bears game and drank about eight beers and one shot. He then drove to Murphy’s Law bar at 9247 S. Cicero Ave. in Oak Lawn, where he drank more beer.

After leaving Murphy’s, Chaidez fell asleep in his car. When he woke up, he drove north on Cicero without his headlights on. He crossed into the southbound lane, nearly striking a vehicle. That vehicle had to swerve out of the way to avoid a collision, court records show.

Chaidez then continued to drive north and smashed head-on into the Yukon, court records indicated.

Steven’s wife — the front seat passenger — suffered a broken wrist and pelvis, records show. She will require several surgeries to repair the broken bones. Their daughter suffered minor injuries, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Chaidez’s blood alcohol level was measured at .291. He also admitted to police that he was drinking prior to driving.

The suit claims Chaidez drove too fast, didn’t keep a proper lookout, drove without headlines and was driving in the wrong lane.

Michelle Johns and Sabrina Stevens are seeking more than $200,000 from Chaidez and more than $250,000 from both Tailgators Sports Bar and Murphy’s Law.

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