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Victim’s Family Reacts To Officer Involvement In Fatal Accident

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Fabian Torres, left; Joaquin Garcia (Facebook, family handout)

Fabian Torres, left; Joaquin Garcia (Facebook, family handout)

Courtney Gousman Courtney Gousman
Courtney Gousman serves as a general assignment reporter for CBS 2...
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ELGIN, Ill. (CBS) — Charges have been filed against a North Chicago Police officer, for his role in a fatal hit and run crash. Investigators believe alcohol was a factor in the accident that killed friends Fabian Torres and Joaquin Garcia on Lake Shore Drive early Friday.

Terrell Garrett was charged with two counts of aggravated driving under the influence and two counts of reckless homicide late Saturday afternoon, said Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office. A judge set Garrett’s bond at $500,000 for Garrett.

CBS 2′s Courtney Gousman talked to relatives of one of the victims.

He celebrated his 25th birthday less than a month ago.

Joaquin Garcia was a few months away from becoming a certified surgical technician, but an accident early Friday morning would take it all away.

“My nephew is gone. His friend is gone. They had so much ahead of them,” said Andres Laboy, Garcia’s uncle.

Joaquin Garcia was riding with his friend Fabian Torres, in this black jeep, when they were hit, head-on by this Chevy SUV.

Fabian’s mother, Asuncion, says if her son had caused the crash, they would throw the book at him.

“It just feels like it is minorities versus a police officer. The police officer is always more credible, he has more privileges, special privileges, and they don’t really view him like a regular person committing a crime, someone above the law,” said she said. “In my opinion, they gave him a slap on the wrist.”

Investigators say North Chicago police officer, Terrell Garrett, was driving that Chevy the wrong way on Lake Shore Drive.

“We didn’t find out until late afternoon and just shock, anger, you know everything. The longer it sits and reality hits. Just anger,” said Laboy.

Joaquin Garcia’s uncle tells CBS 2, family would learn of his nephew’s death from Garcia’s roommate, after seeing coverage on the news all morning.

Relatives say they’re not sure if charges will bring closure, but they are asking for justice.

“The officer that did this…is just pays for the price for what he did. Get what he deserves. Hate it. Just hate the way this happened. Just hate it,” said Laboy.

Garcia’s family says investigators have yet to reach out to them directly to inform them of Joaquin’s death and the details surrounding the case.

Chicago Police say they’re looking into those allegations.

A candlelight vigil for the two victims will be held at the corner of 26th and Pulaski Monday at 7 p.m.

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