GLENVIEW, Ill. (CBS) — The 24-year-old Glenview man charged with driving the wrong way on the Edens Expressway while drunk earlier this week apologized Friday for putting other motorists in jeopardy.
Sergio Galez-Delira also told CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez that alcohol wasn’t the only thing in his system as he barreled into oncoming traffic for 10 minutes early Thursday, from Chicago through Lincolnwood, Skokie, Wilmette and Northfield to Glencoe.
“I am on anti-depressants as well,” he said.
Galez-Delira claims he’s never had that much to drink before and won’t do it again. He also knows he’s extremely lucky no one was hurt.
“It was like one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever done. And there’s nothing I can (do to) take it back — only to apologize and say I’m sorry.”
Meanwhile, Illinois State Police on Friday released 911 calls from terrified motorists.
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Police say Galez-Delira got on the southbound Edens at Elston Avenue and began heading north around 2:30 a.m. Police finally arrested him near Tower Road.
The first 911 call came from a driver who calmly reported that she had just passed Elston on the Edens, and that a silver-colored sport-utility vehicle headed the wrong way.
Another caller reported that she almost slammed into the driver head-on.
“Hi, I’m coming in on the Kennedy inbound and there’s a car going the wrong way. I just about hit him head on. He’s going the wrong way about 60, 70 mph just past the Cicero exit (on the Edens),” one woman said.
“I don’t know if he’s drunk of if he’s trying to kill himself,” she continued.
Other calls came in as the driver advanced.
“I just passed Touhy. I got goose pimples,” a man said. “He would have hit somebody. He would have killed me. He’s going a million miles an hour.”
A trooper explained that drunken drivers often get confused and end up driving the wrong way in the far-left fast lane, thinking they are actually driving in the far-right slow lane.
Galez-Delira was charged with driving under the influence, reckless driving, having an open alcohol container in the vehicle, improper lane usage an driving without insurance, police said.
State Police Master Sergeant Joseph Stangl, who took some of the calls personally, said he could not recall any drunk driver ever traveling that far and for that long of a time. He credited the timing of the incident and the light traffic on the Edens for avoiding a major crash.
“The driver managed to avoid striking any other vehicles, but this could have turned into a horrific tragedy based on one driver’s decision to get behind the wheel while intoxicated,” Stangl said. “Several callers reported they were nearly sideswiped by other drivers, and they were fearful of how to gain control of their vehicles.”