Round Lake Park man charged in crash that killed rival gang member

Updated 7/20/2011 5:49 PM

A 20-year-old Round Lake Park man faces criminal charges for throwing a landscaping brick through the window of an SUV that triggered a crash and killed a rival gang member, police said Wednesday.

Willie C. Davis, Jr., of the 400 block of Highmoor Drive, could spend up to seven years in jail if found guilty of involuntary manslaughter for his role in causing Sunday's accident, Round Lake Park Police Chief George Filenko said.

Davis was also charged with aggravated battery and mob action by the Lake County State's Attorney's Office. He is held on $1 million bond and is due back in court Aug. 18.

Charges of misdemeanor mob action also were filed Wednesday against all surviving occupants of the Ford Excursion that was involved in the crash, Filenko said.

Assistant state's attorney Marc Bangser told Associate Judge Raymond Collins that prosecutors are waiting for a full accident reconstruction report before deciding whether to upgrade or add charges to everyone involved.

The events leading up to the crash involved rival gang members chasing each other through a Round Lake Park subdivision Sunday, Filenko said.

At 4:15 p.m., an 18-year-old gang member was walking on Highmoor Drive when six rival gang members in the Excursion spotted him and gave chase, Filenko said. The teenager fled through a yard, but the SUV sped up and began driving recklessly to catch him.

At the same time, Filenko said, Davis exited his home in the 400 block of Highmoor and saw the chase taking place. He cut through some yards where he picked up a landscaping brick, and saw the SUV approaching on the 400 block of Clifton Drive.

Filenko said Davis threw the brick at the SUV, which caused it to crash. However, he could not say if Davis threw the brick to protect the 18-year-old or because the vehicle contained rival gang members.

"The brick was a contributing factor to the vehicle veering out of control and striking a tree," Filenko said.

The Excursion was traveling in excess of 55 mph when it was hit by the brick. The posted speed limit in that area is 20 mph.

Rogelio Lopez, 18, who was riding in the front passenger seat of the SUV, was pronounced dead at the scene by the Lake County Coroner's office, Filenko said. The other five occupants remain hospitalized at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville.

All five were charged with mob action: driver Carlos Luna, 22, of the 200 block of Brier Hill Drive in Round Lake Park, and passengers Alexander Huerta, 20, of the 100 block of East Willow Drive in Round Lake Park, Jose Martinez, 20, of the Rosewood Apartment Complex on Forest Avenue in Round Lake, Roger Tolvar, 18, of the 300 block of Avalon Court in Round Lake, and Omar Luna, 18, of the 32000 block of Cedar Lake Road in Round Lake.

Bangser said in bond court Wednesday that prosecutors are waiting for the accident reconstruction report to determine where the brick hit the SUV. He said Davis admitted to throwing the brick, and that it crashed through the windshield and hit Lopez.

If the report shows Lopez was killed by the brick and not by the crash, prosecutors could upgrade charges to murder, Bangser said in court.

Daily Herald Legal Affairs Writer Tony Gordon contributed to this report