Prosecutors: Firefighter Was On Medication, Speeding In Fatal Crash
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (STMW) — A ranking Orland Fire Protection District and Crestwood firefighter took prescription pain medication, weaved between lanes and drove 25 mph above the speed limit before causing a crash Friday that killed a 25-year-old west suburban Downers Grove woman, prosecutors said.
Bail was set at $250,000 Monday for Patrick Bruce, 45, of south suburban Oak Forest, who was charged Sunday with reckless homicide, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, and reckless driving.
He is next due in court Thursday at the Cook County courthouse in Bridgeview.
In a hearing Monday before Circuit Court Judge Israel Desierto at the Cook County Criminal Courts Building in Chicago, prosecutors said Bruce was driving a Lincoln Navigator east on 167th Street, going 60 mph in a 35-mph zone, when he began weaving between lanes.
Patrick was nearing the intersection at Lockwood Avenue when he slammed into a white Hummer in front of him, crossed into oncoming traffic and hit an Oldsmobile driven by Anasis Knox, according to prosecutors.
Knox died from injuries suffered in the crash, and the driver of the Hummer suffered a concussion and a cracked vertebrae, officials said.
Bruce, a full-time Orland fire district lieutenant and part-time Crestwood Fire Department deputy chief, said he took prescription pain medication before the crash, according to prosecutors.
He has been on leave from the Orland fire district since July 4 due to an on-the-job accident, Orland fire district spokesman Ray Hanania said in a statement. Bruce also has not been working for Crestwood because of his injury, Crestwood Trustee Lou Presta said.
Bruce is scheduled to undergo shoulder surgery later this month.
Bruce’s brother, Jon Bruce, is the Crestwood fire chief, and also is an Orland Fire Protection District lieutenant. He attended Monday’s hearing but declined comment.
Patrick Bruce’s attorney, Steve Eberhardt, also declined comment.
Patrick Bruce is married to a teacher, and he and his wife have two children, ages 2 and 4, Eberhardt told Desierto.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)