UPDATED: Driver Charged With DUI In Fatal Jefferson Park Wreck

UPDATED 08/10/11 10:18 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — A 35-year-old man has been charged with five felony counts of drunk driving in a crash that killed two people and injured four – including the offending driver – in the Jefferson Park neighborhood.

Richard K. Strum, 35, of the 5400 block of North Mobile Avenue, was charged with three felony counts of aggravated DUI in an accident causing bodily harm and two felony counts of aggravated DUI in a fatal accident, according to Chicago police. He was also cited for driving without insurance, failure to reduce speed and driving on a suspended license.

He is expected to appear in bond court Wednesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the crash is raising new concerns about how to curb speeding on some residential streets.

As CBS 2’s Kris Habermehl reports, a family heading for Wisconsin Dells was struck by horror and tragedy in the crash at Austin and Sunnyside avenues around 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Claudia Delia was driving her Honda with three children and a friend of one of her son’s. She was coming out from Sunnyside when her car was broadsided and crushed by a Ford Mustang that, according to witnesses, was speeding down Austin.

The crumpled wreckage of one of cars was pushed into a pole as a result of the crash.

Claudia Delia, 35, and her son Bryan Delia, 16, were pronounced dead soon afterward at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.

Delia’s 2-year-old son, Hauk Marvin, was critically injured and taken to Children’s Memorial Hospital. Family members said he broke his legs in the crash.

Bryan’s stepbrother, Zack Marvin, was also critically injured and taken to Children’s Memorial, and Bryan’s best friend, Christian Diaz, was treated at Lutheran General. Strum was also injured and taken to the same hospital.

The Delias’ car landed in Roberto Rodriguez’s front yard. He said his family tried to help those young victims get out of the car, but couldn’t.

“We actually tried, but the doors was just too jammed, there was just too much damage. We couldn’t move or anything,” Roberto Rodriguez said.

Jefferson Park residents who live near the intersection of Austin and Sunnyside Avenues said that intersection has been nothing but trouble, with a history of crashes. But Tuesday’s tragic accident was the worst they’ve ever seen.

The intersection is structured awkwardly. The east-west Sunnyside Avenue jogs slightly at Austin Avenue. Even with stop signs on Sunnyside, drivers are forced to play a dangerous game of beat the traffic, especially in rush hour.

Should there be a traffic signal at the intersection? Traffic lights are mounted a block south on Austin at Montrose Avenue, and a block and a half north at Eastwood Avenue, but Habermehl says the sight lines are poor with trees and parked cars, in addition to the jog, the intersection with Sunnyside has been deemed a hazard.

A review and study of the intersection is planned.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

  • FR

    Since she had a stop sign, it was her fault. If she couldn’t make it across, she should have turned right and then turn left later.

    • Dave

      FR you have a lot of nerve pre-judging the woman who was killed. Unless you have proof, I’ll bet you anything it wasn’t her fault at all.

      • JP

        The article says she was coming out from Sunnyside, which had the stop sign. Therefore she had to stop and check traffic. I have driven down this stretch of Austin before in the morning and what tends to happen is that if there are no parked cars, people will use this as a second lane. But still, I do wonder why she would pull out onto Austin if it wasn’t clear. The article says the other driver was speeding down Austin – wouldn’t you notice that? I’m not saying it was her fault, but not everything is so cut and dry with this accident.

    • LS

      Wrong. Since the driver who caused the accident was speeding, drunk, and uninsured, It’s his fault. He was reportedly going more than double the speed limit! He should not of been driving with no insurance, and definitely should not have been driving DRUNK!

      • moni

        Nowhere did it say the accident was the guy’s fault. It just said he was charged with DUI, no ins & suspended license. Someone here asked why he didn’t get charged with vehicular manslaughter – that is because you have to have caused the accident. No one is saying it because the lady and son died, but it would be her fault since she had the stop sign.

      • pnk

        Yes the guy who hit the car should not have been drunk, speeding, etc. but how in the heck does someone not see a speeding car if they were at a STOP SIGN?! And why wasn’t the guy charged with vehicular manslaughter?

      • kellie

        @PNK, the intersection there is very difficult to see the incoming traffic. Many times you have to come almost all the way out to then see cars are right there, If there were vehicles parked it is so difficult to see, and that is during the daytime. I’m sure he will be charged with something, i hope he will be charged with something. if he wasnt drunk he might have been able to avoid this.

      • bianca

        Interesting that now it is his fault since he was drunk, I would do a little more research because he wsnt DRUNK as you mention. It is an unfortunate accident and yes two people died but the fact that he had no insurance and suspended druvers lic had nothing to do with her shooting out of sunnyside.He had the right of way in this situation or do you loose that when “DRUNK’. And as to the witnesses that saw him speeding where are you because you didnt exist initially a day later now you want to speak. HMMMMMMM could this all be people very creative imagination. I wonder if he was on the other side would it matter that he was “DruNK”

      • Roberta Waker

        Right. If he was speeding, the woman probably didn’t have a chance of seeing him even after she stopped at the stop sign and looked both ways. They probably DO need a four way stop sign here if this has been a problem intersection. Why wait until people are killed to do something? If he was drunk, speeding, uninsured and unlicensed HE is definitely at fault because he shouldn’t have been driving in the first place. It he hadn’t been speeding, this alone might have avoided the accident because if he had been going the speed limit she would probably have seen him coming. Anyway, HE was ticketed and HE is at fault; but he won’t pay because he was unlicensed, uninsured and probably doesn’t have a pot to pee in. If she didn’t have insurance, the people will pay. Hope they put him in jail so he won’t kill anyone else. Our sympathy goes out to the families and prayers for a speedy recovery for the survivors.

  • mckenna

    Residents complain about this for years and it takes 2 deaths to “look into it”?

    Nothing will be done. This will go away. It’s just hot news right now.

    • Roberta Waker

      Actually they will probably put up four way stop signs because whenever someone is killed at a dangerous intersection that is what cities do. In our County when someone is killed in a traffic accident; the stop signs come out almost immediately. It’s just a shame it has to take a fatality before something is done with dangerous intersections. It’s also tragic that unlicensed drivers with no insurance are allowed on the roads because they slip through the cracks. Jesse White needs to tighten up enforcement on these people and Judges need to put them in jail or take away their vehicles.

  • Dan Rakow

    4-Way Stop would be perfect fpr Austin and Sunnyside in the Jefferson Park Neighborhood.

    • LS

      I agree.

  • LS

    Also, this loser driving the Mustang was driving on a suspended license too…. A real idiot.

  • Mis

    ,,,u know what,,,just forget about the thing that he was without insurance, and “drunk” (but what if he was drinking night before and it was just a small % of it ), and with NO license,,,,just don’t pay attention to it for a MOMENT..This guy’s life ruined,,,that’s clear now!
    ….And think about the lady – the mother – the driver who had 4 KIDS in the CAR,,,,why couldn’t she STOP and WAIT!!!????
    If only it wasn’t THAT BAD accident,,,and nobody’s got hurt,,,,she would’ve been the one who was AT FAULT!!!Believe me!She should have WAIT!(

    • Roberta Waker

      Didn’t witnesses say she DID stop and wait? If he was going at double the speed limit or better (70 mph?) she never had a prayer of seeing him. You can’t forget about him being DRUNK because he was. You can’t forget about him being unlicensed because he was. He should NOT have been on the road in the first place, in which case there would NOT have been an accident and these people would still be alive. He is at fault and deserves to have his life ruined. I would love to see his driving record; but I’m sure the media will get that information and odds are he was convicted of a DUI at least once before to get his license suspended because they don’t suspend your license for no reason. Don’t cry for him; cry for the innocent victims.

  • Charles M.

    I agree!they should put a stop sign on Austen..thats not the first time in inccedent has happen here in this intersection. .its sad that a death has to accure for the city to take action. …and for the idiot that was driving under the influence your going to live with this for the rest of your life. ..and your lucky i was not at the scene cause i personally would had made sure you would not had made it to the hospital. …R.I.P. Cladia@Bryn

  • Jack

    Very sad situation regardless of who is at fault. I’m surprised no has mentioned that the guy was under the influence and it was 8AM??? I’m pretty sure he has driven drunk before, so sad. Perhaps if he was not drunk he would have been able to react when seeing her vehicle instead of plowing into it.

    • Roberta Waker

      Jack. You are absolutely right. Chances are he has driven drunk before. If he hadn’t been drunk and speeding there might not have been an accident and these people would still be alive. I hope they put him in jail to get him off the road so he doesn’t kill anyone else.

  • El

    I feel bad for the lady and her son as well as the children who sustained injuries. I know the driver of the mustang and, in the least emotional way i could say it, I wish he didn’t make that mistake of just rushing down the street. I wish he would drive slow like i tell him. But he wasn’t drunk. I just feel generally hurt by the situation.

  • Rob

    Going 35 (the speed limit) would not have resulted in the deaths of two people.

    Going 45 would not have resulted in the deaths of two people.

    Look at the car. There’s barely any of it left. The driver had to have been going at least 60 miles per hour.

    Even I don’t expect someone going 60 turning right out of an intersection. And he’ll be out of jail in 10 years anyway.

  • El

    For the safety of being true, I am deeply hurt by these deaths. but i’m glad the kids are ok. and i’m sort of content that the driver of the mustang is alright.

    • Roberta Waker

      Strum’s life will be hell for the rest of his life because of this accident. There will probably be many times he will wish he had been killed instead of the innocent people that died because of him. You might be content that he’s ok, but will HE?

    • LS

      OK? One kid is dead, 2 are critical, and one fair. Not exactly OK!

  • lance

    hey FR and anybody else who thinks it was her fault,you gotta be the stupidest person in America bar none. you are never at fault when the other driver was speeding and drunk dummies. now all of America knows you are a very ignorant piece of garbage.

    • Roberta Waker

      Right on, Lance. If he hadn’t been on the road in the first place, these people would still be alive. Even if she stopped and looked both ways like people said she did; she would never have seen him coming at 60-70 mph as people allege he was driving.

    • El

      You can have your way of seeing it, because this is what this is for. BUt Jesus christ, leave the name calling at home.

    • jklue

      Wow aren’t u a winner…

  • CFLC

    Not to comment on this accident. One thing is clear, more and more people are not stopping or slowing up and continuing through stop signs. There is little or no enforcement of traffic violations and drivers no this.

  • LS

    In Illinois, if you are involved in an accident with out insurance, the law automatically makes the accident your fault even if the accident normally wouldn’t be your fault. 30 miles over the speed limit is now a felony in Illinois too. Guess what happens when you kill someone while committing a felony? This POS guy’s license was suspended for not paying a $10,000 judgement for another accident he cause back in 2000 without insurance. Just because she had a stop sign didn’t mean she wasn’t in the right. He may have been passing on the right (think truck blocking view) or passing another vehicle on the left in the oncoming lanes but out of view. There is no reason to be going more than double the speed limit regardless. & I hope they give him the max sentence for these felonies!

  • LS

    Richard strum charged, and held on $2,000,000 bond. Do you people still think he’s not at fault???? http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/7012698-418/man-charged-in-crash-that-killed-2-had-cannabis-in-system-prosecutors.html

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