Tinley Park Concertgoer Charged In Crash That Killed Passenger

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (CBS) — A 21-year-old Alsip woman has been charged in the death of another young woman over the weekend, in a crash while driving back from a concert in Tinley Park.

Bond for Sarah Lavko was set at $150,000 Tuesday, which means her family will have to come up with $15,000 for her release from the Cook County Jail.

Elam’s father thinks that’s a small price.

“That ain’t nothing,” Bill Elam, of Alsip, said Tuesday. “It’s costing me more than $13,000 to bury my daughter. At least their daughter will still be around. Mine’s never coming back.”

Megan Elam, of Alsip, died from injuries received when she was thrown from a car Lavko was driving Saturday night after leaving a concert by rapper Lil Wayne at the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in Tinley Park.

Lavko was charged Tuesday with reckless homicide and aggravated drunken driving, both felonies, in connection with the one-car crash at 11:38 p.m. in the 6200 block of 183rd Street, police said.

A call to Lavko’s residence seeking comment was not returned.

Preliminary investigation determined Lavko’s blood-alcohol count was 0.197, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08, said Andy Conklin, a spokesman for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

Police Cmdr. Steve Vaccaro said an open bottle of liquor was found in the car.

Circuit Court Judge Peter Felice set Lavko’s bail during a hearing Tuesday afternoon at the Bridgeview courthouse, Conklin said.

Vaccaro said witnesses told police the car left the roadway and “flipped over four or five times” before settling on Cook County forest preserve land on the north side of 183rd Street.

Two of the other three passengers who were in the car remained hospitalized Tuesday, police said.

Lavko’s next court date is set for 9 a.m. Sept. 7 at the Bridgeview courthouse. Elam’s parents, Bill and Debbie Elam, plan to be there, as they were at Tuesday’s hearing.

The SouthtownStar contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.

  • Just Axin

    Why didn’t she have a seatbelt on? What was her alcohol level? Why did she get into a car with someone who was drunk?

    • Sarah

      It sounds like it may have been as much the victim’s fault as the driver’s.

      • Roberta Waker

        The article states her blood alcohol level was 0.197 – well over the legal limit. If she was thrown from the car she obviously didn’t have a seatbelt on. If the victim was in the back seat, she didn’t need to wear a seatbelt, which means she was guilty of poor judgment by getting into the vehicle with a drunk driver. More details should be forthcoming as the investigation continues. What a shame that young people need to go out and get drunk to feel happy or good about themselves. Sometimes the price for such poor judgment is very high.

  • Nickie Barron Misialek

    WHY does ANYONE have to drink to have a good time??? Didn’t her parents/media WARN and tell their daughter time and time again NEVER to drink and drive???? We know kids will drink, but pick them UP!!!!! all of them could have walked over the bridge on Oak Park and gotten a ride. Still amazes me how all the media hype of “don’t drink and drive” still hasn’t hit some people. My condolences to the Elam family. I agree with her father in regards to the bail money.

  • JimBob

    $13,000 to bury his daughter? I’m all for honoring the dead, but not at crippling expense.Funeral Industry is out of control.


    It doesn’t matter how much we tell EVERYONE not to do something, if they feel they can get away with it,,, they will try… this is not the 1st time she drove while intoxicated— might not be her last. It is now time to look @ the alcohol industry itself- do we ban alcohol all together or do we wait to see who’s gonna die next??? THE COMMON DENOMINATOR IN ALL THESE CASES IS ALCOHOL!!! (GUNS & ALCOHOL) BOTH REQUIRE PEOPLE !!! sorry for the lost.

  • Just Axin

    Tired of This- Hello. We are tired of suggestions like yours that are unworkable and make no sense, not to mention it punishes everyone for the behavior of some. Make sure you severely punish wrongdoers to send a message.

  • shepard mom

    there are nothing but victims here . we can blame everyone because multi displays of bad judgement that night . they learn in school about desnigated drivers and dangers of drinking and driving but that does not changed anything kids take chances because they believe nothing will happen to them . we can only hope that Megans life was not lost in vain . That you can be young and have fun but also be SAFE

  • Anonymous

    I went to high school with the driver, and while I didn’t know the passenger, she was from the town I live in. It’s not just a tragedy that this happened, it’s shameful that someone who should have known better would not only drive that drunk- but drive with passengers. It’s sad to say but may this remind all the graduating and alumni in our area that this isn’t some far off fairy tale, it’s real and it can happen to you or someone you know in the blink of an eye. Every year at Shepard they have an assembly that shows exactly what can happen when you drive drunk, to warn kids not to make a stupid choice while celebrating graduation and prom. While this death could have been prevented, may it be a reminder to all those who try to ignore the possible outcomes- you are not invincible, and driving drunk hurts a lot more people than just yourself.

    @Tired of this- do you not happen to remember the part of history class where we all discovered exactly how well prohibition worked? You don’t blame the alcohol, you blame the person- she knew better, and if she grew up in our area she has been told since 4th grade the dangers of these types of activities and chose to have a “good” time instead.

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