A former North Chicago police officer convicted of driving the wrong way on Lake Shore Drive in 2013 and causing a fatal crash was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison.
Terrell Garrett was charged with two counts of aggravated driving under the influence and two counts of reckless homicide following a crash that killed 25-year-old Joaquin Garcia, 25, and Fabian Torres, 27. In a deal with prosecutors, Garrett pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated DUI before Cook County Judge Mary Brosnahan imposed the prison sentence. It did not please the victim's families.
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"My son's life was worth more than 10 years," said Cecilia Garcia, whose son was studying to be a surgical technician at Chicago's Malcolm X College.
Maria Torres, whose son was a first-year student at DePaul University, noted the judge had a sentencing range of between seven and 31 years.
"She didn't even try to go in the middle," said Maria Torres. "Ten years is not enough. It's a letdown. It's a disappointment."
Garrett was off duty at the time of the crash. Witnesses said he was traveling 60 mph or more before the two cars collided.
Cook County prosecutors say Garrett's blood alcohol content after the early-morning crash was measured at 0.184, more than twice the 0.08 legal limit.
A passenger in a third automobile involved in the crash, Eve Yeaton, was injured. Yeaton said she hasn't been able to work and sees a long list of therapists for post-traumatic stress disorder and concussion.
"In my heart, Terrell, I would like you to know I forgive you," she said. "None of us want to be in this situation, including you."
Before being sentenced, the 36-year-old Garrett said he takes responsibility for his actions.
"Today is the hardest day of my life, and it's my own fault," he said. "If I could give my life for theirs I would. I'm sorry, but I know that's not good enough."
Maria Torres said she would forgive Garrett if he apologized to her from his heart.
"He does not know what he took from me," she said. "He took a beautiful person. He had a beautiful soul."