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Driver In Wrong-Way Crash On Lake Shore Drive Released On Bail

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Erik Johnson / Photo from Chicago Police Department

Erik Johnson / Photo from Chicago Police Department

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CHICAGO (STMW) – A suspected wrong-way driver involved in a deadly crash on Lake Shore Drive early Friday was released from jail Monday night after posting bail.

Erik Johnson, 23, of the 3500 block of North Janssen, who was also injured in the crash, made his first court appearance Sunday afternoon. He was charged with one count of aggravated DUI causing an accident or death, two counts of aggravated DUI causing an accident or bodily harm, and misdemeanor counts of DUI and improper use of a controlled access highway, according to Chicago Police.

He was initially ordered held on $750,000 bond, but Judge Donald Panarese reduced the amount to $500,000 on Monday.

Johnson was released from jail Monday evening after posting $50,000 bail, Cook County Sheriff’s spokesman Ben Breit said.

About 2 a.m. Friday, Johnson was driving a 2014 Subaru SUV southbound in the northbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive near Randolph Street when the vehicle struck a taxi head-on, authorities said.

The crash killed one of the taxi’s two passengers — University of Chicago Law School student Laura Anne LaPlante, 26, of Hancock, N.H., who was on track to graduate this summer, according to a university spokesman.

LaPlante and the other passenger, who were not wearing seat belts, were partially ejected from the cab, prosecutors said.

After the crash, Johnson exited his vehicle and urinated on the median of Lake Shore Drive, prosecutors said. He told paramedics that he drank “five to six beers and shots” before he got behind the wheel, prosecutors said in court.

Johnson told police that he was driving to Saint Louis, according to a Chicago Police report. The report indicated Johnson, whom authorities say had a blood alcohol level of .195 — more than twice the legal limit, had three passengers in the back seat of his vehicle at the time of the crash.

The cabbie and the other passenger in the taxi — a 25-year-old man university officials said also is a U. of C. law student — were taken to Northwestern Memorial in serious condition. Johnson was treated at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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