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Man Charged With Fatally Striking Bicyclist On West Side

Robert Vais (Photo  from Chicago Police)

Robert Vais (Photo from Chicago Police)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Bond was set at $400,000 today for a Riverside man charged with driving drunk when he struck and killed a bicyclist in Chicago.

The family of Hector Avalos believes the court was far too lenient with the driver. CBS 2′s Derrick Blakley spoke with his grieving family.

“Now my son is dead and he’s not coming back,” said Ingrid Cassio, the victim’s mother.

The mother of 28-year-old Hector Avalos was still coming to terms with her son’s death and with the legal process may allow the driver accused of taking his life to possibly gain freedom.

“I haven’t seen my son at all but he gets to see his family,” said Cassio.

Police say, shortly before midnight Friday, Avalos was riding his bicycle westbound in the 2500 block of Ogden Avenue. That’s when he was struck by a van driven by 54-year-old Robert Vais of Riverside.

Avalos was pronounced dead at Mt. Sinai hospital.

A breathalyzer showed Vais’ blood alcohol level at .118 well over the legal limit.

A judge ordered Vais released on $400,000 bond and his family left the courthouse without comment.

“That was way too easy for him. $400,000 is nothing compared to my son’s life,” said Cassio.

Avalos was a former marine, and a culinary student. Six months ago, he got his first cooking job at El Hefe restaurant in River North. He was on his way home from work when he was struck and killed.

His girlfriend says, he loved cycling, loved the outdoors and never feared riding Chicago’s streets.

“He always felt comfortable in the streets of the city, riding his bike,” said Christina Valencia.

Avalos’ family fears that Vais may drink again and injure others on the road, but Vais has no previous felonies on his record.

Vais is a county employee, the director of purchasing at Stroger Hospital.