A Cicero woman has been charged with reckless homicide and driving under the influence of alcohol in connection with a late 2011 crash that killed a Woodridge man.
Authorities originally believed the 26-year-old man who died was behind the wheel, but surveillance video shows Magali Padilla, 24, driving minutes before the rollover crash, police announced Sunday.
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Riverside police arrested Padilla on Saturday after a seven-month investigation into the accident that killed 26-year-old Cesar Ramirez.
Ramirez was pronounced dead about 20 minutes after the crash at the intersection of Longcommon and Delaplaine Roads at 11:43 p.m. Dec. 7, according to police.
When police arrived at the scene they found Padilla kneeling over Ramirez, begging him to live, said Riverside Police Chief Tom Weitzel. There were no eye witnesses to the crash, and Padilla told officers that Ramirez was driving the silver 2003 Mercury Mountaineer, which was totaled on the front lawn of a home, Weitzel said.
Riverside police obtained surveillance video about two months ago from Lalo's Restaurant in the 3000 block of S. Harlem Avenue in Berwyn where the two had met with co-workers that night. The video shows Padilla driving the vehicle as it exited the parking lot of a Berwyn restaurant 2 minutes and 30 seconds before the vehicle rolled over multiple times 8 blocks from the restaurant, Weitzel said.
Police originally said both Padilla and Ramirez had a strong odor of alcohol after the crash.
Detectives attempted to interview Padilla multiple times over the past two months, but she has refused to make a statement at the advice of her attorney, Weitzel said.
The Cook County state's attorney's office approved felony charges of reckless homicide and one count of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol causing a death at about 1:45 a.m. Saturday, and arrested Padilla later that day.
Padilla appeared at a Cook County bond hearing Sunday, where a judge set her bail at $350,000. Her next court date is Tuesday, according to court records.
Ramirez's wife who lives in Mexico is traveling to Riverside this week to meet with police, who will explain the court proceedings and process moving forward, Weitzel said. ssss
Riverside police were assisted by the Illinois State Police accident reconstruction unit during their investigation.