Man charged with aggravated DUI in Route 53 Rolling Meadows crash that killed four
A 32-year-old man, charged Wednesday with four counts of aggravated DUI involving a death, had alcohol and marijuana in his system Saturday when his vehicle struck a disabled car on Route 53 in Rolling Meadows, killing all four occupants, authorities said.
Lamar C. Graves of Bellwood was ordered held on $450,000 bail Wednesday by Cook County Judge Ellen Mandeltort.
Prosecutors say Graves' Jeep Wrangler was traveling more than 88 mph when it struck the Ford Fiesta driven by Stacy S. Harris, 45, of Schaumburg about 11:33 p.m. Feb. 20. The car was parked on the northbound shoulder of Route 53 at the time of the crash, and Harris was on the phone seeking roadside assistance, according to prosecutors.
Killed along with Harris were her 17-year-old son Jeremy Johnson, also of Schaumburg; her sister Herlanda L. Harris, 47, of Chicago; and Herlanda Harris' 6-year-old son Jimarion Harris.
Graves struck Harris' vehicle "with such force both cars slid across all three lanes of traffic," Assistant Cook County State's Attorney Nicole Murphy said.
Two witnesses traveling in another vehicle saw Graves' Jeep speed by, swerve and nearly hit another car, then strike Harris' car before it came to rest after hitting the concrete medium, Murphy said.
Graves was the sole occupant of his vehicle, Murphy said. As one of the witnesses approached Graves' vehicle, Graves inquired about the status of the occupants of the Ford Fiesta, Murphy said. The witness told him "someone was dead," at which point Graves entered his vehicle and made multiple attempts to start it, she said.
The witness took a photo of Graves' license plate in case he fled, Murphy said.
The witnesses further observed Graves tossing a bottle of alcohol from his car, according to prosecutors who say that was also captured by the Illinois State Police trooper's squad car camera. Police recovered a shattered bottle of Maker's Mark near the scene, Murphy said.
A bag of cannabis was also recovered on the roadway next to Graves' vehicle, Murphy said.
Graves was treated for a fractured arm at Amita Health Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village. Blood drawn during his treatment showed a blood-alcohol level of .123 -- above the legal threshold of .08 -- and urine revealed the presence of "cannabis metabolites," Murphy said.
During the hearing, prosecutors referenced texts Graves and his girlfriend exchanged between 10:50 and 10:53 p.m., some 40 minutes before the crash. In one text, the girlfriend remarks she is a little drunk, to which Graves responded via text, "you and me both," Murphy said.
About 50 minutes before the fatal crash, Illinois State Police received multiple reports of a black Jeep Wrangler stopped in a ditch on northbound Route 53 before Lake-Cook Road, but the Jeep was gone by the time officers arrived, Murphy said.
About 11:11 p.m., some 20 minutes before the crash, an off-duty state trooper reported Graves' speeding vehicle traveling east on I-290 near Route 83, weaving through traffic and almost striking a wall and two vehicles, Murphy said.
The trooper, who estimated the vehicle's speed at 95 mph, gave dispatch a description of the car and the license plate number, she said.
If convicted, Graves faces a sentence ranging from six to 28 years. He next appears in court March 12.