UPDATED: Driver Charged With DUI In Fatal Jefferson Park Wreck
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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.