Round Lake man convicted of DUI in crash that killed 2 passengers

A 30-year-old Round Lake Beach man faces up to 28 years in prison after a jury convicted him last week of charges alleging he was driving drunk when he caused a 2020 crash that killed two of his passengers.

A Lake County jury found Jose S. Aguirre guilty of nine counts of aggravated driving under the influence following a four-day trial that began June 3, prosecutors said.

“We will continue to hold dangerous and intoxicated drivers responsible for their criminal, dangerous, and immoral acts,” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said after the verdict. “This is a preventable tragedy, and all parts of our community must continue to raise awareness about how wrong and reckless intoxicated driving is.”

The crash occurred about 3:30 a.m. Sept. 27, 2020, when authorities say Aguirre was fleeing a traffic stop in a Chevy Traverse. The officer reported that the SUV had reached a speed of 123 mph in a 45-mph zone before the chase was ended due to safety concerns, officials said.

Shortly after the pursuit ended, the officer came upon the Traverse crashed in a wooded area near Route 134 and Main Street in Round Lake, prosecutors said. Passengers Juan Renteria-Becerra, 34, of Mundelein, and Edgar Herrera, 30, of Round Lake Beach, were pronounced dead at the scene. A third passenger suffered minor injuries.

Aguirre testified during the trial that he was not driving when the crash occurred, but that was contradicted by eyewitnesses who saw him in the driver’s seat and experts who said his injuries were consistent with being behind the wheel, prosecutors said.

The Lake County Major Crash Assistance Team determined Aguirre was the driver of the vehicle and was traveling at speeds above 110 mph when he lost control of the vehicle went into in the wooded area and hit several trees before rolling onto its roof, authorities said.

Aguirre’s next court appearance is set for July 15.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.